It’s been awhile since Thomas and Bruce have been able to do an episode together, but they’re back. Technical difficulties put them out for a couple months, but they’re mostly fixed now. In this episode we did not talk about The Shack, mostly because our wives will next week, but also because we don’t like controversy. Just kidding, we like controversy. Instead, we used this episode to catch up on the last couple months, sort of a potluck of topics.
Seminary, Serving & Adoption
Okay, we did talk about The Shack a little, but not enough to ruin Sarah and Angy’s episode. Mostly we focused on sharing what God has been doing in our lives over the last couple months. Some of that stuff is pretty big stuff; kids being healed, adoption considerations, serving in our local church, and Thomas being part of the “system” by going to seminary.
People not to Follow
We also mentioned a number of people that we follow, but don’t recommend you following. Here’s a short list: (CAUTION: If you click the links, they’ll probably mess you up.)
For episode 5 we invite our first guest co-host, long time friend Curtis Marshall, onto the show. He shared what God has been doing through his upcoming separation from the military and what, for him, serving God looks like right now.
Our first topic starts by asking the question, “Is it okay for Christians to watch movies or television shows with nudity?” Lots of Christians say they have no issue watching shows like Game of Thrones because the nudity isn’t an issue for them, but should it be?
The second topic is something that Thomas has been talking with a lot of Christians about lately. During multiple conversations, people have told Thomas that they’re starting to realize that they are serving in certain areas of the church out of a felt obligation rather than out of being compelled by an active relationship with God. Does “faith without works is dead” obligate us to serve, or is there something deeper than that?
The last few “couple’s episodes” we did, had a lot of great feedback. One of the things that a number of people asked us to talk about was dating and remarriage after divorce. So we are…
We came up with a few points to remember:
1. Figure Out You.
This is you taking the time to deal with your feelings, resolving your hurt and finding the you that you are or want to be. This is a great time for realizing important things about yourself or to reinvent yourself.
2. Know Who You Want.
After you discover yourself, take time to figure out what you want in a partner. This is a great opportunity to wrestle with really deep questions and desires about what a healthy relationship looks like and what you expect from and in a healthy relationship. This is a perfect time to make a list of those expectations (and it’s okay to be picky).
3. Give Your List Grace.
After you make a list, go back over it and be realistic about what you put on there. Then, have grace for it. You might get lucky and find someone who meets the whole list. But, likely you won’t. But that shouldn’t be a game changer. If there are one or two items they don’t meet, decide how important those items are.
4. Be Intentional with Your Time.
When you do start dating, be intentional with how you spend your time. Specifically, if early in the relationship it becomes evident that it isn’t something you want, it’s okay to end it. But, if it becomes obvious you’re moving toward a long-term relationship, or marriage, be intentional about learning each other and investing in that relationship.
5. Remember that Remarriage is Going to be Hard.
No matter how well you do that other stuff, getting married (or remarried) changes the whole dynamic. You are going to bring in baggage and it is likely going to be difficult. If you go in understanding that, you’re more likely to stay and fight. This is not you having a dreadful view of marriage, but is instead accepting the reality that relationships take actual work and that you are both likely bringing baggage to the party.
In the end, we want others to be encouraged and know that building a healthy, God-honoring marriage is possible, even after divorce.
In this episode, I’m going it alone for another g(O)dd episode. But not to worry, it isn’t me talking about something for 40 minutes. Nope. It’s me talking for 20 minutes. And what is it that I’m talking about? It’s Lent.
I’ve never participated in Lent. I’m not an expert in Lent. I’m probably not even qualified to speak on the subject. But I’m going to. But, I’m not going to talk about the history of it or whether we should participate or not. Mostly I love the tradition connected to it and the heart behind it.
What Does an Expert Say?
Since I’m not an expert, I try to listen to people who are. Back in January I was listening to an interview on the Phil Vischer Podcast with Aaron Damiani. During that interview Damiani said, “During Lent, most people ask what they should give up, but that’s the wrong question. A better question is, what does God want to say to me during this time?”
In this episode I share my insight on Proverbs 22:6 and how Jesus fulfills the promise of training up our children. I also share what I’m giving up for Lent and why.
What does God want to say to you during Lent?
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In this week’s episode we open with Bruce making fun of Thomas’ wife’s, Angy, cross wall. Thomas said Bruce was hurting his feelings, which was the perfect segway into this week’s topic.
This week we are talking about hurt. Specifically, we discuss the fact that if we chose to live in authentic Gospel Centered Community with others, we can expect to be hurt and come face-to-face with other people’s hurts.
Your Hurts and Community
There isn’t a lot of show notes for this topic. Let’s leave it at this.
Community is a great place to come and put your hurt on the table. By doing so, it allows those closest to you to take it off the table and help you carry it. Community is also a great place to grieve with those that are hurting. And, Community is the perfect place to experience Jesus, find healing for your hurts and help others heal.
With St. Valentine’s Day being just two days ago, this is easily one of the most lonely weeks for some. Mostly because everything surrounding this holiday involves being with someone you love. But, not everyone has someone. In fact, so many deal with loneliness. Not only do we have to deal with loneliness, we often struggle through different levels of loneliness. It’s this loneliness that causes us to seek out relationships with others and can often lead to unhealthy decisions surrounding who we spend time with and who we chose to commit ourselves to.
That’s what we’re talking about in this episode. Thomas mentioned the importance of understanding the role that loneliness plays in bringing us to church, drawing us into a dating relationship and eventually marriage. We go on to talk about how being lonely can be the foundation we use to make excuses to allow ourselves to consider divorce as an option. So, let’s talk about being lonely…
Why are Christians Lonely?
We talked about a couple different reasons. The bigger reason lies within the separation created from Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. That event created a gap in our relationships that we have been trying to close ever since.
The other reason is a bit closer to home and, we believe, has to do with the way that mainstream (institutional) church is structured. Unfortunately, church, as a system, does not often lend itself to offering authentic and close relationships. Some of the loneliest Christians are those sitting among a 2,000 person congregation. Sadly, the way we structure traditional church actually feeds the needs of the organization, but fails to fulfill the needs of the organisms within the walls.
So people come to church hoping for connection and believing they will find it in the group. But, when the superficiality of that connection becomes evident, they decide that maybe the group isn’t intended for connection and their loneliness convinces them that they can find fulfillment in an individual. So they find someone, and date, then marry… even if they don’t get along with the person, being with someone is better than being alone. Until it isn’t.
The Second Level of Loneliness
The second level of lonely occurs after marriage. It often comes with the realization that the person you married cannot fill that desire for connection. Really only God can, but at this point you’re less concerned with that and more concerned with how to get out of the misery. This is typically when people, who may have never previously considered divorce, talk themselves into it being the “only way” or the “best decision for everyone involved”. So we ignore the bible and do what we feel will alleviate our suffering. (To be fair, sometimes divorce may be a necessary thing. We’re not broad stroke painting divorce.)
God Doesn’t Leave
God’s message to everyone, all the time is, “I will never leave you.” We may feel alone, but if we’re in Christ, we’re not; in fact, it’s impossible for us to be. God’s word is clear…
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
A Note to Singles (But really to the church)
Church, two things.
Stop expecting single people to figure out where they fit into the body. Go find them and welcome them in.
Stop making marriage the highest form of worship or holiness or whatever we make it. There’s a ton to this, but stop acting like the thing singles should aspire to is marriage. Just invite them in and be companionship for them.
Without question, for many of us, the past few weeks have been difficult to navigate. The recent Immigration Ban has sparked numerous debates and arguments. Mostly between those for the ban, in the name of safety, and those desiring to provide refugee aid, in the name of compassion. For us at The (G)odd Show, the biggest things that confuses us is the when Christians engage in this argument.
Not in the Bible
We hear Christians arguing two sides; one being the need for increased border security for the sake of our safety and the other being the need to compassionately care for refugees. Our problem is, when we read bible we don’t see an emphasis on our personal safety. Instead, we see page after page calling for an exceedingly compassionate response to caring for the foreigner, refugee and sojourner. So our question is, how are we arguing about what the biblical response to this issue should be?
Legitimately we don’t have an issue with people being concerned about our safety in this country. The world has become a scary place; safety should be a top concern of our government. All we’re saying is maybe be honest about the situation. If a Christian were to tell me that regardless of what the bible says about caring for the refugee, but their agenda regarding safety was more important, I would accept that. At that point I couldn’t fault them for their honesty, our conversation about the issue would be over and we could move one. Unfortunately the typical response, for many concerned with safety, is that it isn’t a biblical issue. For us, there isn’t much that is more biblical than caring for the least of these.
In the end it comes down to honesty. It’s has to do with being honest about what your priorities are, what you feel God saying to you and how you interpret His word.
Join us as we talk through it. As always, this is a conversation and we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
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For the better part of 5 years, Thomas and I have been talking about church outside of the four walls of a building. We have fleshed the process out quite a bit. Thomas has even had the opportunity to implement some of it. And, over the past year of this podcast, we have thrown the word “community” around quite a bit. So we decided it was time that we explain what we mean when we talk about community.
The Community We Teach
We teach a purpose toward ministry called, “Gospel Centered Community” (GCC) and a method of ministry called, “Gospel Centered Missional Community” (GCMC).
In a nutshell, GCC as a heart for intentionally living toward others. And if GCC is an intent to live toward others, GCMC is the missional outworking of that intent. A big focus of GCMC is making disciples who make disciples.
Practically speaking, the focus of GCC is on receiving the love of God and and the focus of GCMC is on revealing the love of God.
Gospel Centered Community (GCC)
This a body of committed believers, connected by a shared purpose and vision to see Jesus glorified and who challenge each other into deeper relationships with Jesus and one another.
Gospel Centered Missional Community (GCMC)
This is the practical outworking of GCC and is focused on cultivating disciples who make connected disciples.
In the coming weeks I plan to release a five-week series, on my personal BLOG, that lays out the process I plan on working though to build this type of community. Soon after that, we’ll have an ebook to accompany it.
This week we are back on the serious topics train. And when I say serious, that doesn’t mean there is no joking involved. There’s always joking, mostly. This week we are discussing parenting. More specifically we want to talk about what it means to train a child. Even more specifically we are addressing Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
What if they don’t go?
We do not really have a problem with using Prov 22:6 as a verse to guide our parenting principles. Our issue is when that scripture is used as a guide from an Old Testament context. When that proverb was written the Israelites parents would have understood it to be directing them to teach their children the OT law. Contextually they would have believed that obedience to the law would have maintained them on the righteous path and kept them in favor with God. Subsequently they would have taught their children every letter of the law. That proverb would be tied, in parallel, to Deuteronomy 6:7 which said, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The issue with taking this context is what to do with that scripture if your child does depart from it. I know enough people that really tried to raise their children to understand the Bible, go to church and know God, and some of those kids still quit going to church. When that happens, from an OT context, you have two possible considerations. Either you didn’t train them the way you should have or the bible was wrong? Obviously neither of those can be true. So what do we do with it then?
A New Testament View
Without giving the entire episode away, there is a way that allows our children to experience and take responsibility for their own relationship with God. It has to do with Jesus. But you’ll need to check out the episode to get the rest.
I will say this… The OT view places emphasis on training by telling, while the NT places emphasis on training by showing (1 Corinthians 11:1).