The Enneagram- Gospel Tool for Self-Discovery or Elaborate Gnostic Deception?

April 15, 2021 @ 6:50 am

In 2016, Ian Cron (an Episcopal priest) and Suzanne Stabile wrote “The Road Back to You”, and Zondervan publishing released the book, “Sacred Enneagram”. The enneagram, a supposed tool of personality analysis, was then unleashed and has become one of the most popular, widespread and celebrated teachings in the evangelical church in recent years. There are Enneagram books, podcasts, blogs, trainings, YouTube videos, Social Media pages- one pastor even preached an entire SERMON SERIES on the 9 types, where he found characters from the Bible, guessed their type, and taught the Enneagram using the Bible.

But where did the Enneagram come from? And why is it true? Is it based in science? Psychology? Personality theory? Or….something else?

The origins of the Enneagram are a bit…complex, to say the least. But we do know is that its roots are based in esoteric thought, mysticism, sacred geometry, new age teaching, and it gets even weirder. Things like automatic writing and strange revelations from an angel, or spirit guide named “Metatron”.

Do you want to know where it comes from? Do you want to know what it really teaches?

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Immigrants, Refugees, Sojourners, and Aliens- what the Bible says (and doesn’t say) about Illegal Immigration and a Christian’s Response.

April 1, 2021 @ 3:23 pm

In Exodus 23:9, God says “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” It’s clear from reading scripture that God desires for His people to be compassionate, kind, and understanding towards those who come to another country seeking safety or greater economic opportunity for themselves and their families. But what if an immigrant comes to a country illegally?

Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 instruct all people to follow the laws of a nation. Therefore, breaking a country’s immigration laws is clearly understood to be sin. But what if a prosperous nation like the U.S. doesn’t have compassionate or reasonable immigration laws? Are we therefore justified in supporting those who break the law because of the Bible’s command for us to show compassion, justice, and mercy to the alien and foreigner?

How are we to respond as Christians to illegal immigrants on an individual level? Is loving, showing compassion, and having mercy on them the same as promoting, enabling, or excusing illegal immigration?

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Can you Dig it? Archeology, The Holy Land, & Evidence for the Biblical Text (feat. Amanda Hope Haley)

March 19, 2021 @ 5:00 am

The Bible is an amazing book. It’s actually a collection of 66 books written over a 1600-year period by 40 authors in 3 languages, on 3 continents. Amazingly, these 66 books share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message. But it was written a long time ago in a world very different from the one we live in now. So how do we know about the world as it was at the time of the Bible?

The biblical text and other written records are the most important pieces of information we have about the history of ancient biblical peoples. But these records alone have left many unanswered questions. That is where archaeology comes in. Excavations of ancient sites across the land of the Bible, Israel, have provided bits and pieces that give us clues to the past and help grasp a better understanding of the world as it was when the Bible was written. We sometimes find that the picture we get in our heads when we read a Biblical passage isn’t entirely as accurate as we thought. And we gain a deeper appreciation and better understanding of the context and background that forms the Biblical text.

Does modern archeological confirm what people find in their Bible? Or does it contradict what we read in the Bible? How can archeology help us become a better student of the Bible?

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When Leaders Fail Us, Christian Cancel Culture, & the Danger of Celebrity

March 4, 2021 @ 6:37 am

The headline is far too common- prominent Christian pastor, evangelist, or leader caught in an affair, financial indiscretion, double life, or leadership failure- leaving countless wounded, confused, hurt, angry and almost everyone questioning, “how did this happen? Why did this happen? And Why didn’t we see it coming?” The anger is justified. The confusion merited. The questions fair. That leader is responsible for their sinful, duplicitous decisions and should be held accountable.

And…then there’s the world of the internet, where hot takes regarding any leader’s moral failings abound via tweets, YouTube videos, and all manner of online content. Commentary is offered and blame is cast on everyone and everything. Everything regarding the leader and their ministry is churned up, questioned and called into scrutiny- every sermon ever preached, every book ever written- even their own salvation and relationship with Christ. After they have been thoroughly scrutinized, gutted, examined, blamed, and called out, that figure and all of their contributions to the church at large are decisively and forever cancelled in a terminal act of judgment- never again to be known for anything other than their failures and sin.

But is this how it’s supposed to be when a leader fails us? Are we to decisively and finally “cancel” them and all their work, or is there another response we can give? And if we didn’t cancel them, wouldn’t that just be justifying and excusing their sin?  What are we to do with our questions, confusion, hurt, disappointment, and anger? Is there any hope of redemption or any road back for a leader who’s fallen?  

 

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In the Ring- Calvinism vs. Arminianism, pt. 2 (featuring David Young)

February 19, 2021 @ 6:56 am

The following is the 2nd episode in a 2 part series where we explore the differences between the theologies of Calvinism & Arminianism. 

Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609.

 For the past 500 years, Christians (mainly protestant evangelicals) have continued to debate these systems of theology related to salvation and how exactly it works. The dispute centers around an understanding of what the Bible means when it talks about concepts such as depravity (or the sinfulness of man), predestination (or the divine foreordaining of all that will happen and all who will be saved), and atonement and who will be included in the atoning work of Christ.

So which one is right? Is it that God is absolutely sovereign and ordains some people to be saved and others to be sent to hell? Or is it that God invites all human beings to place faith in Christ and be saved?

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In the Ring- Calvinism vs. Arminianism, pt. 1 (Calvinism, feat. Mike Lee)

February 5, 2021 @ 8:17 am

In Matthew 11, Jesus invited all who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him, and He would give them rest. But in John 15, Jesus says, “you did not choose me, but I chose and appointed you.” So does Jesus invite us to choose Him in salvation, or does He choose us in salvation? We know that the Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things, but does that mean we don’t have free will? How does the sovereignty of God work with humanity’s responsibility to obey God’s commands?

Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609.

For the past 500 years, Christians (mainly protestant evangelicals) have continued to debate these systems of theology related to salvation and how exactly it works. The dispute centers around an understanding of what the Bible means when it talks about concepts such as depravity (or the sinfulness of man), predestination (or the divine foreordaining of all that will happen and all who will be saved), and atonement and who will be included in the atoning work of Christ.

So which one is right? Is it that God is absolutely sovereign and ordains some people to be saved and others to be sent to hell? Or is it that God invites all human beings to place faith in Christ and be saved?

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“Why I am a _____”- Unity, Diversity, & Mere Christianity

January 22, 2021 @ 7:05 am

It’s estimated that there are 40,000 Christian denominations and movements in the world today. And chances are, if you’re a Christian listening to this podcast, you’re a part of a church that’s associated with one out of the 40,000.

Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:41 that his future followers would exhibit a special kind of unity that would be a testimony to the world. So what happened? Why does it seem like Christians can’t agree on anything? Why are there sometimes four different Christian churches on the same street? And why are there so many Christian denominations? For those who aren’t Christians, it must seem confusing. Which church is the right one?

In our increasingly secular, post-modern, post- Christian culture, Christians must become more united on (and more focused on) Gospel issues. But the truth is there are issues of secondary importance that we’re just not all going to agree on. Things like worship styles, church governance, and nuances of non-essential doctrines can often lead to a diversity of perspectives in the body of Christ. How do we talk about these things with other believers in humility, grace, love and understanding? What makes a local church (or even denomination) the right fit for you and your family?

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Fasting, New Year’s Resolutions, & The God of Our Bellies

January 8, 2021 @ 12:45 pm

New Year, new you…well, hopefully. The reality is, for most of us not much has changed since this time last week when it was 2020, except for the new page on the calendar. For a lot of us, we’re carrying into the new year the same stubborn old habits, the same old struggles, and the same old sins that we wrestled with last year.

But what if the Bible gave us a regular discipline we could practice to remind ourselves that as followers of Jesus, our God is NOT our bellies, or our food, our TVs, or our screens? Fasting, the practice of voluntarily abstaining from food (or certain activities) for a period of time, has been practiced by Christians for thousands of years. In fasting, a believer abstains from food in order to be available for prayer and communion with God. Fasting isn’t easy, but it’s designed to separate you from your perceived life support so you can focus exclusively on the Lord.

Sadly, many Christians have never fasted. Just mentioning the practice is enough to cause some people panic. Why would anyone want to fast? Much less for longer than a day? What does the Bible say about fasting? Do you have to fast?

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Jesus People, Televangelism, Youth Culture, and the Commercialization of American Church

December 11, 2020 @ 5:00 am

In the minds of many American Christians, church isn’t a place to go to connect with the transcendence of God and contemplate the majesty, wonder, and beauty of the mysteries of the Divine- it’s a place we visit to be entertained and catered to. Some of our worship gatherings feel more like a pep rally or a pop concert than they do a worship service, and in many gatherings the teaching of God’s Word has been replaced by a more informal, conversational TED talk style sermonette about the importance of the journey of falling in love with Jesus. Oh, and on your way out of the auditorium, be sure to check out the church’s other offerings such as CD’s, books, and t-shirts for sale. But it’s not just in our churches, as American Christians we’ve created our own unique, heavily commercialized, highly monetized subculture. We’ve got Christian radio, Christian recording artists, Christian movies, Christian TV, Christian themed restaurants, even Christian amusement parks. 

We all know it, but most of us are just afraid to say it out loud- it’s big business. And we’re the customers. How did we get here? Is this the vision Jesus had for His Church 2,000 years ago? And what impact is this excessive commercialization having on our understanding of the Church’s mission? Is it wrong for worship services to be engaging or entertaining? Is it wrong to sell Christian books or make Christian music?

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Reasons to be Thankful in 2020

November 25, 2020 @ 3:16 pm

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". 2020 has been a very eventful year full of unexpected and challenging circumstances. So in the middle of a year like 2020, how do we continue to give thanks and practice gratitude? 

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