Q|A Session 5: Religion & The Bible

Last week, Brady and I took a look at your questions concerning religion and the Bible. There were some GREAT questions asked – many of which could be entire life-long fields of study. Some of these questions deserve to have an entire class series. And we will go in depth on some aspects of these questions in coming classes, so stay tuned!

As always, give the class a listen if you missed it, follow along with the Scriptures, and then check out our answer video at the bottom for even more answers.

Why do some religions who worship the same thing always fight/argue?

Philippians 2:3-4 | Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
James 3:14 | But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Galatians 5:15 | If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
2 Corinthians 12:20 |  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

How do we know our image of God is right with so many other religions? Are we only Christians by culture?
Deuteronomy 10:17-19 | For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
1 John 4:7-16 | Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
        This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

Is the Old Testament necessary?
Romans 15:4 | For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
John 5:39-40 | You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 | For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
Acts 8:35 | Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
Acts 17:11 | Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
2 Timothy 2:15 | Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

It can be really hard to believe in the Bible sometimes when it starts talking about multiple-headed crazy animals and all kinds of things like that. How do you take those types of things?
Daniel 7 & Revelation 12-13

Q|A Session 4: Science & Faith

This week we looked at the questions our teens submitted concerning Science and Evolution. I am not a scientist by any means, but I would consider myself a science enthusiast (like Fred from Big Hero 6). I have done my best to answer these questions and address these concerns in a truthful, considerate, thoughtful way. I present the ways in which I have personally come to reconcile science and faith in my own life. But I must emphasize that not everyone will agree with me. And that’s OK! If you don’t agree with what I have to say, let me know and we can discuss these things further. But be prepared to give me reasons for your disagreement and where you stand on certain issues.

If you will click the image below, you will be taken to another page where you can listen to my class from last night. And I will also include images of my presentation slides so you can follow along with what’s on screen. At the end I will list some helpful resources for those of you interested in doing more research.



Finding God in the Waves, by Mike McHargue
Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis
The Case for a Creator, by Lee Strobel
The Source, by John Clayton
The Reason for God, by Timothy Keller
(I have each of these books in my office for anyone who would like to borrow them. Mike McHargue, CS Lewis, Lee Strobel, and John Clayton all have this in common – each one was an atheist who came to -or back to- faith in God.)

YouTube Channels
SciShow Space
It’s Okay To Be Smart
Crash Course
Smarter Every Day
Today I Found Out
PBS Space Time
Minute Physics

UPLIFT 2017 | Greater

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even GREATER THINGS than these, because I am going to the Father. // John 14:12

Uplift this year was just what we needed. I could sense God moving in a big way through the experience.

It all began Saturday night with a screening of the movie GREATERthe story of Brandon Burlsworth who walked on with the Arkansas Razorbacks football team. Through faith in God and trying his best in whatever he did, Brandon worked up to a starting position. I don’t want to give away the story too much. You can find out more about the movie and watch the trailer here: http://greaterthemovie.com. And after the movie, Marty and Vicky Burlsworth came on stage to be interviewed. The testimony of the Burlsworth family is absolutely amazing. Brandon’s legacy lives on in big ways because he decided that being a disciple of Jesus was greater than anything else he could do – including playing professional football.

The Sunday night keynote speaker was Mark Moore, CEO of MANA Nutrition (http://mananutrition.org). Mark inspired us to take small steps to change the world. He challenged us to think small and aim low (i.e. what little things can we do to make an impact in our communities?). He encouraged us to give up – that is, give up whatever doubts, fears, and trepidations we may have in serving God through serving others. Finally, he told us to “Go to Starbucks” – emphasizing the need for face-to-face community, sharing life together.

On Monday night, Jim Miller (a Bible professor at Harding) shared his story of doubt and struggling with faith after the sudden passing of his father. It was a powerful testimony of how our doubts don’t have to completely derail our faith.

Monday night ended with one of my favorite parts of UPLIFT each year – hundred of teens crowding into the rotunda of the McInteer building and singing for about an hour. I recorded it this year so that you can listen to some of it. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

B. Chris Simpson was the Tuesday night speaker. The students always look forward to hearing from him, and he always delivers a memorable message. B. Chris walked us through some of the stories of demon possession in the gospels. He showed us how demons effected those under their control in the Bible, and how the still influence our lives in similar ways today – Isolation, Imprisonment, Impropriety, Inability to Speak, Inability to Hear, Loss of Control, Self-Harm, etc. But through Jesus, we have the power to overcome the demons in our lives. “We will dance in the darkness cause greater things are yet to come!”

The week wrapped up on Wednesday night with an inspiring and challenging message from Andrew Baker, the UPLIFT director. He reflected on how the call to DO (John 14:12) is a call to SERVE. He explained that we serve by showing mercy, by bringing peace, and by preemptively loving our neighbor. As an example, he shared the story of Jeremy Courtney whose organization, PREEMPTIVE LOVE COALITION (http://www.preemptivelove.org), is providing life-saving surgeries in Iraq for children born with crippling birth defects. His story is absolutely amazing. Check him out online and on YouTube.

I don’t even have time to mention how stellar the drama performance was this year. And Harris III, the illusionist, was unbelievable. The classes, the worship, the time spent together – God was at work in all of it.

But one of my absolute favorite parts of the week was one of the last things we did. I began doing this last year, and I think we will do it again at the end of each week of UPLIFT. During our Group Devo time I asked our teens two questions: What do we (young disciples) want to be known for? What are some things we can do? These are their answers.

  • More involvement in FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at school
  • Foster Parents’ Night Out
  • Regular visits to Mitchell Manor
    • Cards & gifts
    • Worship/devotionals
    • Christmas caroling & more
  • House Cleaning & Yard Work for people around town who are unable to do much themselves
  • Loose Change Jar set up in the Teen Center
    • Change for Change organization
    • Micro-Loans to small businesses in developing nations
  • Making no-sew pillows and blankets for foster children, patients at Riley hospital, residents at Mitchell Manor
  • “Adopt a College Student”
    • Care packages & letters of encouragement
  • MISSION TRIPS (most requested)
    • Foreign (i.e. Honduras, Dominican Republic, etc.)
    • Domestic (somewhere around the US)
    • Local (i.e. Bloomington/Indianapolis)
  • Kickball and/or Wiffle Ball Tournament Fundraiser
    • Lehigh Fields?
    • SMBC?
    • American Legion?
  • Sponsor a child through Compassion International
  • More hang out times together as a group
    • Movie nights, Game nights, etc.
  • Bead bracelets to sell for fundraiser/for a cause
  • Thank You cards to mentors and influencers
  • Trips to visit Riley Hospital
    • Hand out toys & teddy bears
  • Graduates Wall for all the graduating seniors in the Teen Center
  • Video game tournament to raise money for a cause
  • Use money from Wednesday night meals to help fund mission trips
  • Turn the ugly back room in the Teen Center (the black “video game” room) into a Workshop where we can make blankets and pillows, write cards, make bracelets, etc
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the years to come. UPLIFT was great, but the real test will be to see what happens AFTER.
Here’s the Highlight Video from the week with our group:
And here’s a the full Bohemian Rhapsody video:
I love doing what I do. And I love the God I do it all for.