Pastor Q&A // Part 13

QUESTION: How do you find the balance between ministering to married LGBT couples without sounding judgmental?

ANSWER: PASTOR ZACH

Too often when we think of others, Christians or non-Christians, straight or gay, we first think about what they do rather than who they are. We jump straight to the sin they commit. Stop and ask yourself, “What do they think that I think about them?” They probably think that you judge them. That you look down on them. And too often our thoughts follow that uncaring script. 

In reality, you have a higher view of your unbelieving friends than they can ever have of themselves. All people, Christians or non-Christians, gay or straight, are created in the image of God. We need to ponder often this truth. All people are worthy of respect because they are made in the image God (James 3). As image bearers of God, they are a part of our society, and common grace means they have much to offer. Their job, their hobbies, and their talents are all gifts from God. So rejoice where you can rejoice. Being made in the image of God means that they eternal, which is why you care for them deeply. As created beings, they are also subject to their creator and must live according to his design. This final truth—that we are all subject to our Creator--is the foundation upon which we build the more serious conversations. 

And too often we focus only on the big ways to minister to people and miss a thousand little ways to serve.  For example, what does it mean to reflect Christ well when you go grocery shopping? Get into an hour-long apologetic and evangelistic conversation, obviously. Or so we think. But God gives us little ways to minister daily, and we ought to focus more on those. Be the only kind customer who smiles. Get off your phone and treat the cashier like a human. Quit treating the other shoppers like competitors. Practice honoring Christ in a thousand little things this week. When it comes to LGBT couples, build your ministry upon the truth that all are created in God’s image and begin with ministering in the little ways.



Pastor Q&A // Part 12

QUESTION: Can a child be too young to accept Jesus a savior, is it better for them to be older?

ANSWER: Pastor Mike

The short answer is yes, a child can be too young to accept Jesus as Savior. Every person crosses some conscious threshold where he/she can understand the truth of the gospel and place his/her faith in Jesus. 

The next question is, “What is that age?”  Answer: it’s different for everybody. It’s not impossible for someone to be saved before elementary school, but my comfort level is to wait until they are older. Younger children can be talked into almost anything. It’s easy for them the hear a presentation and want to respond. 

John 3:18 says, “Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” 

What does it take to believe in in the name of God’s Son? There’s deeply theological and rich meaning in that name. It implies that you comprehend the deity of Jesus and the relationship with the Father. It means that you know your need and your standing before a Holy God. It means that you grasp the purpose of the death of Christ and are trusting in the applied righteousness of Jesus on your account. These are massive concepts for anybody at any age, let alone a child. 

The best route to take is to clearly and consistently talk about their sin, and their need of salvation. To work through good resources like The Lamb.To keep asking questions to see what they are trusting in. Finally, wait until they cannot put it off any longer. If the Holy Spirit is involved, it should burn in their hearts, and you can have the joy of seeing your child come to trust Jesus for salvation.   

 

Pastor Q&A // Part 11

QUESTION: Thoughts on gay marriage?

ANSWER: Pastor Mike

Sometimes people claim that Jesus didn’t speak to this issue. That is categorically false. Jesus quoted from, upheld, and lived by the Old Testament law. The law firmly defined marriage as between a man and a woman. 

Then, in Matthew 19, Jesus is asked about marriage and divorce. He starts his answer by defining marriage according to Old Testament standards. He says, “He who created them in the beginning made them male and female…for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh…” 

Jesus clearly defined marriage as one man and one woman. Additionally, humankind throughout all of history—until recently—has also defined marriage in this way. This is important because it takes the debate out of the realm of just the Bible, and moves it to the general consensus of human history as well. 

Therefore, it’s impossible to change the very nature and definition of something that was instituted by God and has been honored and understood in a certain way in human history. 

For illustration, the color purple is by definition the mixture of red and blue. That is non-negotiable. Let’s say that blue and blue mixed together and claimed they were purple. Or, let’s say red and red did the same. They can certainly claim to be purple, but in reality, they are still only blue and only red. Just because something is claimed doesn’t make it a reality. 

Thus, when I talk about this subject, I choose to say, “so-called” gay marriage. Why? Because in actuality there is no such thing. It’s a contradiction of terms on a par with saying blue mixed with blue equals purple.

Pastor Q&A // Part 10

QUESTION: My child would like to ask: how do I get along better with my siblings?

ANSWER: Pastor Mike

That is a great question that every child should ask! Sibling relationships can be complicated and rife with conflict. On the other hand, siblings can sometimes be the best of friends. 

Jesus had brothers and sisters. I would venture to say that Jesus alwaysgot along with his siblings. Why? Because he always gave preference to others. Philippians 2:3-4 serve as a model for all of us. I think every child should memorize these verses. 

If every child was always thinking about the interests of his/her sibling, there would be no conflict. I would challenge your child to be the one who is always placing his sibling’s needs and desires first, and in so doing, there will be peace!   

Pastor Q&A // Part 9

QUESTION: My son wants to marry a divorced woman. Can I attend the wedding/celebration of adultery?

ANSWER: Pastor Mike

This is a difficult question because the prospect of missing a wedding can end in hurt feelings and relationships. The answer is not a clear-cut, black-and-white answer because the issue of divorce is not black-and-white either.  

Let’s start with what we know. We know that God intended marriage to be between  man and a woman for life. This begins in Genesis 2:24 and runs throughout the Bible. The “one flesh” union was not intended to be broken. 

However, Scripture does give some windows where divorce and remarriage are possible. It’s not within the scope of this Q&A to discuss all the possibilities for divorce and remarriage. 

Instead, I’d like to share some potential reasons to NOT attend a wedding like this. I do believe that weddings are celebrations and those who attend are approving of what is happening. 

Having said that, if your son had an adulterous affair with the woman is the reason she divorced her husband, I would be concerned. If the woman was recently divorced, and she was the one who filed and it was simply because she didn’t love him anymore, I would be concerned.

Those are two extreme circumstances that would give me pause on supporting a wedding like this. I would proceed with caution and get further counseling if you still feel uneasy about the subject.   

Pastor Q&A // Part 8

QUESTION: What do you do when you see a sin in your husband's life and when you've brought it to him (respectfully) his response is he doesn't feel it's that big of a deal?

ANSWER: Pastor Scott

In our sinful nature, we are blind to our own blindness. Jesus is the healer of the blind. He may choose us to be the instrument by which he causes that blindness to be lifted from our spouses, but we cannot cure that blindness ourselves. In Matthew we are told to confront a brother in sin. This includes spouses. 

It is important to recognize that we are a tool in the process and that we must rely on Jesus to be the power behind the change. The tool may be lovingly and respectfully pointing out a sin, talking about how it is affecting the relationship, and continuing to pray for the heart to be changed. 

I have a friend who shared that she constantly confronted her husband on an issue that was rooted in his pride. The constant battering caused strife in their relationship and only deepened the hardness of her husband’s heart. It was when she resolved that she had lovingly and respectfully confronted her husband, that she committed it to Jesus. Shortly after she gave it over to Jesus, her husband’s heart was changed, and he was no longer blind to his blindness. 

 Praise God you have that opportunity. It is truly an act of love. Be in constant prayer that his heart of stone will be changed to a heart of flesh. 

Pastor Q&A // Part 7

QUESTION: Why are there so many grandparents raising their grandchildren? What caused this?

ANSWER: Pastor Scott

God has designed the family to be the primary learning community  and has given parents the responsibility of being his representatives in teaching and instructing children in the home (Deut 6:4-9). 

Children will receive information from inside and outside the home and will interpret that information according to their worldview. Because we all have a sinful nature, the interpretations are not naturally from a Biblical or Godly worldview. This is why parents must be involved in forming a Biblical/Godly worldview in their children. In Judges 2:6-15 we have recorded a result of parenting not taken seriously – an entire generation that did not know God. 

The responsibility of parenting is serious, takes a lot of time, and is often frustrating because of a fallen world. If we think our children are born innocent, we have believed Satan’s lie. The truth is, we are all born sinful and no child has to be taught how to act sinfully. We should thank Jesus when we have to sacrifice and deal with children on the same issue over and over, because that means we are parenting. 

Too often, parents want children who don’t need to be parented. We have our own schedules to keep, own difficulties to handle, and a society that tells us we deserve to have “things” and a focus on us. This has been an extremely effective strategy used by Satan to erode the foundation of what God intends to be the primary learning source of who He is. 

Satan has not only attacked the responsibility of parenting he has attacked marriage itself and with great success. When marriage becomes a contract that can be broken rather than a covenant, there is a direct correlation on a commitment to parenting. 

Our culture has become one of self worship and convenience and if parenting children gets in the way, we want someone else to parent our children. Grandparents are being used to fill that role. 

Pastor Q&A // Part 6

QUESTION: Is there a godly way to support friends or family in a homosexual marriage?

ANSWER: Pastor Jared

As Christians who look to Scripture for our final authority, we struggle in our desire to show Christ-like love without compromising Biblical teaching. God clearly communicates that He designed sexual intimacy to only be enjoyed between a man and a woman within the covenant bonds of marriage (Gen 2:24). Homosexual marriage distorts the biblical teaching of both sex and marriage. So how do we respond in a godly way to loved ones who are in a homosexual marriage? 

First, we must remember that it is never loving to celebrate something which Jesus condemns. To do so would be ignoring the biblical command to walk in the light (Eph. 5:8). Any show of “support” must not condone sinful behavior. As a Christian I want those closest to me to never offer their support of my sinful behavior, whatever it may be, but instead lovingly call me to repentance and restoration. 

Having said that, we are also called to show Christ like love to others. That love looks like speaking truth (Eph. 4:15) when given the opportunity, but it must not end there. Every single part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) can be shown to someone who practices homosexuality. We are also instructed to walk in wisdom towards outsiders (Col. 4:5), so we must study the Bible to see what a wise neighbor, family neighbor, friend looks like. The book of Proverbs is a great place to find those answers.

Finally, the best way to support anyone is to give them a reason for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). Jesus died for the person engaged in heterosexual and homosexual immorality alike. No sin is outside the purview of God’s relentless grace. We don’t have to offer our view on sexuality with every encounter with such a loved one, but the gospel should be at the forefront of our interactions with them. Christ’s love compels us to call others to reconciliation (2 Cor. 5). That is the only true support worth offering someone engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.