We're Unleashing a Revolution of Love in Central Kentucky

Q…in case you were wondering.

Here's a list of frequently asked questions that we've tried to offer up an answer to. We hope it helps you sift through the not-so-easy stuff you've always wondered about.

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Suicide?
The answer on video
Did God create evil?
The answer on video
Southland's Finances?
The answer on video
Judas?
The answer on video
Being single?
The answer on video
Infant Baptism?
The answer on video
Homosexuality?
The answer on video
Divorce?
The answer on video
Alcohol?
The answer on video
Dinosaurs?
The answer on video
Are Mormons Christian?
The answer on video
Gay Marriage?
The answer on video
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?
The answer on video
What is the best way to read the Bible at home?

The answer to this question depends both on the season of life you are in and the season of spiritual maturity that you are in.

If you have more time to allot to scripture reading and want to increase your understanding of the Bible I would suggest that you commit to reading through several chapters of the scriptures at least 5-6 days a week (don’t beat yourself up if, in the midst of your week, you miss one or two days). In addition to reading through the text, also work your way through an introductory level commentary alongside of the text to help you understand the depths of meaning in the passages you are reading. If you are an auditory learner, you may prefer to find a verse-by-verse teaching of the text to follow along with—maybe even on your commute to or from work. You will likely be able to find free audio teachings on the internet.

If you want to focus on really hearing the voice of God in the scriptures, I would suggest that you commit to reading through no more than one chapter of the bible a day. (You can read through any section of scripture; however the Psalms, the Gospels and the Epistles are a great place to start.) Before you read pray and ask God to reveal his heart to you through the text. Center yourself and wait 5-10 minutes to engage the scriptures until you sense that you are prepared to encounter God. Then read the text (5-20 verses). After you have read the text once, read it again—this time very slowly as you are awaiting to receive anything that God may have for you in each work or sentence. It would be helpful to do this reading with a journal and to prayerfully record what you believe God has placed on your heart after each reading. You will want to plan on no less than 30 minutes for this type of reading—it cannot be rushed. This type of reading is typically most appreciated by people who have a decent grasp on the content of the scriptures.

If you don’t know where to start, consider reading through the New Testament. Read through the Gospels and focus first on Jesus. Then read through Acts and learn about the church. Afterwards, read through the letters of the Apostles and hear about their teaching and instruction to the churches.

What comfort can we provide to a loved one who anticipates going to heaven, but knows they won’t see another loved one there? Will this individual be sad when they get to heaven?

The idea of not being able to spend eternity with some of the people you have loved here on earth is very difficult. Furthermore, knowing that those individuals will not be with God for eternity is even more difficult that knowing that they won’t be with you. The Bible does promise that in heaven there will be no mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). There is no way to know exactly how our minds, memories or hearts will be healed and renewed by God, but when they are, the burden of missing a loved-one will not encumber us. One very important thing to remember is that heaven is not primarily about our relationship with others but instead, about Gods’ relationship with us. Our relationships with others will matter in heaven, but everything will be centered and focused on our relationship with God.

Is the Holy Spirit allocated in different portions/amounts or is it simply believers allowing more of the Holy Spirit to be revealed in our lives?

This question has several nuances to it. Everyone who is a believer has the Holy Spirit in them, and the presence of the Spirit is a mark of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). However, the Holy Spirit is not just given to characterize our salvation but also to enable our relationship with God to grow, to impart God’s love to us, to communicate God’s truth to us, to intercede for us, to equip us for works of service, and the list goes on. Everyone Christian has been given the Holy Spirit, however, it does seem that some people are given unique measures of the Spirit and also that, as people open up their lives to the Spirit, that they can receive more of his presence and power. We know that we can ask for more of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), that we can grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), that we can quench the Spirit or put out his fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19), that we can keep in step with him (Galatians 5:25), and also that we can desire more of his gifting (1 Corinthians 14:1). Each of these verses indicated to be that people have varying levels of the Spirit’s power in their lives, based in part upon God’s grace and based also in part upon their desire for and responsiveness to his presence.

What are some other written documents other than the Bible documenting the life of Jesus and all he did (and why do churches not ever reference these works)?

There are far too many documents that refer to Jesus’ life to give a complete answer to this question. The question likely needs to be limited to addressing the documents, in addition to the New Testament, that were written within a few generations of Jesus’ life. The two most common works are the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas.

The Gospel of Thomas is a document that was discovered in 1945 that consists of 114 sayings that are attributed to Jesus. It likely dates to around 140 A.D. This work demonstrates a high degree of literary dependence upon the New Testament but portrays the identity of Christ in a different tone and with a much different emphasis.

The Gospel of Judas, which is a document that likely originated around 150 A.D. and portrays Judas not as a betrayer of Christ but instead as the only disciple who truly understood Jesus’ message and who helped Christ plan his execution. This document is highly influenced by Gnosticism (a philosophy which developed in the 2nd century AD which taught that esoteric knowledge provides the way to salvation and that the flesh and worldly things are inherently evil) and contradicts the four canonical gospels. There are others works such as the Gospel of Mary, the gospel of Bartholomew, the gospel of Peter, the Gospel of James, and the list goes on. The reason that none of the above works are used by churches to teach about Jesus’ life is because they are not trustworthy, accurate sources of history. None of them were written by an apostle or close associate of an apostle, they were not written until well into the 2nd century AD, they were not widely used by the church for worship, they teach doctrines which are in direct opposition to the rest of the New Testament, they are highly influenced by Gnosticism (and other non-biblical philosophy), and the early leaders of the church concluded univocally they were not worthy to be included into the canon. The church doesn’t use these documents because they are of a completely different caliber and quality than the documents in the New Testament.

Coming from a scientific background, how does someone rely upon faith and accept the things in Genesis such as a rib being taken from Adam, resulting in Eve?

There are two different approaches to this question. The first, classical approach would be to recognize this account as a miracle. By definition, miracles defy scientific explanation. However, just because this miracle cannot be explained or verified scientifically does not mean that it didn’t happen or that it should be disbelieved a priori. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead contradicts everything we know from science and medicine and yet it is also the foundation of the Christian faith. We have good reasons to believe in the resurrection as a historical fact, however, it still requires that we move beyond that which is scientifically explainable.

The other means of explaining the Adam and Eve narrative is to read Genesis 1-11 through a hermeneutical lens commonly referred to as “the literary framework approach.” This approach holds that the opening chapters of the bible are theological poetry and were written to establish God as the author and authority of life and not to address specific, scientific or historical facts. Thus the narrative is not actually history and was never intended to be so. It was written, instead, to accurately convey a theological and anthropological truth to the original recipients of Genesis—whom themselves would have understood the author’s intended meaning in light of the specific genre of Genesis.

What about unanswered prayers?
The answer on video
Why does God sometimes seem distant?

This is a very honest and real question, and one that the exact answer to may be very difficult to discern.

Sometimes God seems distant because we have sinned and our sin places us in a position of distance from God’s presence. Psalm 24:3-4 says “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” It also says in Hebrews 12:14 “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.”

Sometimes God seems distant because we have filled our lives with so many tasks, assignments and responsibilities that we have left no room for God. And as days or weeks go by that are void of Sabbath-rest, of his Word and of prayer, we begin to experience the affects of not prioritizing our relationship with God—namely that we do not feel close with him.

Sometimes God takes us through a desert season. The exact reason for the season in your life may be clear to you (perhaps it is a preparation for something in your future or a purging of something in your past) or it may be confusing to you—but nonetheless it may be from God’s hand.

Sometimes we are in a season of perceived distance from God and there is no apparent reason as to why. During these times I would suggest that you focus more attention on God than you ever have, realizing that the end goal of your relationship with God is not the feelings of closeness that you get from him but the absolute surrender of your life to his glory. Perhaps in the months and years to come God will shed light on why you went through this season where he felt distant.

Before Jesus, there was two way communication with God. Why don’t we have modern day prophets with direct access to God like Samuel?

God certainly spoke to prophets in powerful ways throughout the period of the Old Testament that allowed them to clearly discern his word and communicate them to his people. God also spoke with great clarity to the apostles after the time of Christ for the inspiration of the New Testament scriptures. Additionally, most Christians believe that God still speaks today, that he still communicates his heart to all of his children through prayer and that he specifically speaks to the church today through people gifted with prophecy (Ephesians 4:12, 1 Corinthians 12-14). The difference between the way God spoke to the writers of scripture and the way he speaks to us today is that the words we receive from God do not have the same level of universal authority that theirs did. God is still speaking to the church and to individuals, but the word that he gives me or you does not necessarily have direct, unequivocal authority to all Christians everywhere. God seems to have decided that the 66 books of our bible are sufficient for directing the life and faith of his church. And it is these 66 books that also provide a litmus test for all other prophetic words. God will never tell someone to do something that would contradict what he has already revealed in his word. So the Scriptures provide a barometer to test the quality of the words we feel like God has spoken to us.

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