You Asked For It!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got all of these questions about everything swirling around in your noggin. We have questions about God, about culture, about church, about theology, and about life in an imperfect world. And it’s hard to get adequate answers that satisfy our curiosity or our soul. And oftentimes it’s hard to have a good dialogue with anybody about these questions we wrestle with and ponder.

So… here’s an experiment that we’re going to try together. Throughout the month of the December, you are going to send me the questions that you wrestle with and think about, and I’m going to pick the Top 8 questions and spend one week per question each Sunday, January 10th through February 28th. Ask anything… and I’ll tally the results and pick the most popular and “ponderous” questions that you have. I want to help us figure out how to wrestle with difficult and deep topics with a Christ-centered, biblical, and theological worldview. It’s going to be a bit crazy and a lot of fun.

So you can send in your questions no later than December 31st in one of three ways:
1) email your questions to youaskedforit@nsb.org
2) ask a question through commenting on my “You Asked For It” note on Facebook (if we’re not “friends,” send me a request via Facebook)
3) ask a question through commenting on this “You Asked For It” blog post

This will also be a great series to invite family, friend, neighbors, co-workers, and students to. We’re going to wrestle with some deep stuff that most people in our world think about… and we’ll always take every question and every person to Jesus Christ.

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~ by Jonathan Alexander on December 3, 2009.

21 Responses to “You Asked For It!”

  1. Are God commands so relative it’s o.k for pastors to swear in the pulpit?

  2. “You Asked For It!”
    Pastor Jonathan,
    Thank you for doing this, our family is looking forward to your answering sermons.
    1. How should we understand Luke 3:22 “…in bodily form like a dove”?
    2. Is there a specific scriptural declaration of the ontological oneness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
    3. How should we understand the “laying on of hands” included in the list of six “elementary teachings about Christ” in Hebrews 6:1-2?
    4. How should we understand, “He punishes the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” Numbers 14:18?
    5. How should we understand verses like Job 23:10-12 and 27:5-6, in which Job seems to appeal to his self-righteousness for his vindication in God’s courtroom?
    6. How should we understand Matthew 18:20? [Is Jesus saying that if two or more believers agree, with pure hearts and sincere faith, on an extra-biblical matter that He will bless the outcome for the affected parties?]
    7. As Christians we all believe that we are justified by grace alone on the basis of faith alone. How should we understand James 3:21 & 24?
    8. How should we understand Mark 3:25?
    9. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? Mark 11:12-14, 20-26; Matthew 21:18-22
    10. With Hosea 13:6 in mind, why does the psalmist write in Psalm 44:17-22 as though Israel was not guilty of forgetting the LORD ?
    11. How should we understand, “… in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished…”, (Romans 3:25)?
    12. How should we understand,”the noble and good heart” apparent prerequisites of the good soil that Jesus mentions in Luke 8:15?
    13. It appears that we don’t see a clear condemnation/rejection of polygamy in the OT. Or is there? If not, why not?
    14. Why did Jesus instruct His disciples to “buy a sword” in Luke 22:36?
    15. How should we understand the proclamation of Luke 2:14, as peace to all mankind because his favor rests on all mankind, or as peace to those of mankind on whom His favor will come to rest, or something else?

  3. Jonathan,
    This isn’t really a question, just an area that you might consider for exploration. Grace and works. My areas of interested here are two fold. 1) We are saved by grace but what about works. Secifically interested in the Spriritual Disciplines. These have been virtually lost from the landscape of modern Christianity. Pressing people to push in these areas of rich fellowship with God usually gets a luke warm response and my expience is that most think SD’s to be optional, not really necessary. Saved by grace, everything else is just optional. The interesting thing is that Jesus had a body and he practiced Spiritual Discilples. The book of Hebrews says that he learned obedience through the things that he suffered. Good for the teacher, good for the student?
    2) The second thought is for the life that Jesus died to provide, to give us access to. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins we are correct but the Gospel is so much more than that. He came that we might have life. Most are aware of this in John 10:10. Romans 5:10 is maybe the best verse that includes both the idea of redemption and life as it states that that we are “saved by His life”. It’s a package deal, we are saved or forgiven so that we might have life. Life is lived out in our bodies so that we might perform good works; the evidence that we are saved in the first place.

    I’m sure you will have plenty to fill the “you asked for it” but these are areas that I would like to hear from you about.

    Thanks for always showing up and being real with us. It’s clear that your messages are not just a performance but are given from your heart. Thats why I love you so much.

  4. This was a worn out subject 10 or 15 years ago but it has pretty much fallen off of the radar screen of most churches. I think it should be readdressed.

    What is the church’s official stance on Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design??? By church, I mean NSB, but also the general consensus among Christian thinkers and respected denominations. The “new-atheist” movement lead by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have squawked loudly about the triumph of science over faith, especially in the realm of the question of origins, but I haven’t heard many churches actually talk about the subject. Topics could include…What do we believe about the Bible’s creation story? 6 day creation? Did God use evolution (4.6 billion years) to create all we see?

  5. So, I was just curious…we have talented musicians and singers that aren’t up there nearly as often as they used to be; singing and playing for God is their ministry. We brought in people from elsewhere to perform for the special a couple of weeks ago. Did we pay them, pay for airfare and lodging? We have a shortfall in our budget, so could we have used our own local talent instead?

  6. What is the unpardonable sin? Some say it’s suicide, but I don’t think so. People who are that lost shouldn’t be refused in heaven. Is it rejection of Jesus Christ?

  7. My question has to do with pain and suffering – sort of. What about people like Suzy, who are born without the capacity to make a cognitive choice about their relationship with God? All the innocents who suffer – why does God allow people to be born with broken minds and bodies and what kind of responsibility do they have for their choices that are governed by their physical and mental disabilities?

  8. On the way to a meeting this morning I was listening to NPR and there was a Global Warming Zealot proclaiming the imminent destruction of the earth and/or most of humanity. His zeal was backed up by alot of heart felt sincerity, computer models, and questionable logic, but none the less his argument was compeling, at least to the radio host. Anyway, it got me wondering…he sounded like a modern day John the Baptist. He was preaching repentance from our sins against the earth and exhorted us to seek salvation from…cap and trade I guess. This brings me to my somewhat rhetorical question:
    Where is the present day Christian “John the Baptist”? Someone proclaiming the reality of the return of the LORD and the wrath of God that is on those who do not believe in Jesus for salvation.
    Why does the Global Warming crowd get to proclaim impending doom and judgement without too much resistance, while we, who actually have the truth, sit idly by apparently not wanting to offend anyone? Maybe it wouldn’t be appropriate or too negative or something, but isn’t the Global Warming scare negative? They think they have the truth…don’t we think we have the truth? I’m just sayin’…

  9. We all sin. When we sin we hopefully ask for forgiveness. It seems unbearable to me that I’m always going to sin and always have to ask for forgiveness for things over and over, but yet we all sin and will continue to sin. Its just a confusing subject for me. Does God say “(your name), you’ve been asking for forgiveness for that same sin over and over, I can’t forgive anymore.” ???? Does that happen? Why does God let us sin? Can we sin and still go to heaven? Why???

  10. My question is: How good is good enough? (with apologies for the inflammatory phrasing). The question is NOT how good do I have to be to earn God’s love or my salvation. That would be impossible. It is NOT how good do I have to be to stop growing and being transformed into the image of Christ. That would be presuming on God’s grace. But we sometimes have a tendency in the Church to focus so much on how sinful we still are that perhaps we don’t acknowledge the work that God has already done in us. what is the appropriate role for celebration of the transformation that has already taken place?

  11. I like Bob’s question. Mine is related. Regarding salvation, I feel burdened with the responsibility of who is saved and who isn’t. I know what the evangelical church teaches regarding accepting Jesus Christ, and that we receive salvation through grace, but only God knows the deep recesses of one’s heart and whether or not a person accepts God. Also, with God, all things are possible (I’m assuming even beyond what church teaches). So I am trying to work out what my responsibility is towards others’ salvation, and where does my responsibility end and God’s begin? Another way to say this is “why is Christianity the right religion?”

  12. My question has to do with God’s justice. I take a great deal of comfort in the thought that all people will ultimately receive justice from God. There is so much injustice in this world, it is nice to think that there will be ultimate justice in the world to come. Yet this raises some additional questions. There are certainly some people, for whom eternal hell fire seems like inadequate justice. More to the point, personally. Those who have hurt me most have been other believers. Since I believe that they are already forgiven by grace, what expectations of ultimate justice do I really have in their case. Do I simply add this to the long list of the mysteries of God and leave it at that?

  13. Another question having to do with the inerrency of scripture. Since all the MS we have to date are copies of copies and there are many demonstrable discrepencies, how do we know what is the right translation without using circular reasoning? Can you recomend a book in the evangelical tradition that addresses this intelligently?

  14. How would you respond to the statement:

    The problem with America today is not America. It is the church. We have become very shallow as Christians, very shallow. We have become masters at engineering feelings without much thought. There is very little thinking that goes on in church. We repeat things, parrot things. We have not thought our faith through. We have not listened to others and what their questions are. Our answers are very shallow. In trying to become seeker friendly, we have become message unfriendly. We have no real depth to what we are trying to teach and speak. Life has got it’s jagged edges against us and we are giving simplistic answers. Somewhere we fell into the trap of believing that music is everything, forgetting that it is only one thing, and that teaching and ideas are important. An expenditure of words without an income of ideas will lead to conceptual bankruptcy, and we are so conceptually bankrupt on this. We cannot really explain these things and until the church wakes up to what our message is and thinks deeply about these things. We will slip deeper and deeper into parroting phrases that have very little differences in our lifestyles.

  15. 1. How do we reconcile the OT/Just God with NT/Grace Jesus? How do we reconcile the loss of innocent children from God’s spoken word to annilate masses of people without just saying “this is how seriously God takes sin”.

    2. Have we adopted a political solution for being a Christian? There are some Christians who believe there’s only one party Christians can support. Some seem to actually ‘hate’ people who have a different POV and refuse to accept that there’s either different POVs or some don’t vote just on moral issues but rather on a mix of issues. Some want our President to be their pastor first and then president second. They don’t seem to want to separate church and state yet want it “separate” when it benefits their POV. Have we conveniently “Christianized” America so that they are one and the same? Have we elevated politics to the level of loyalty and devotion that we mixed the two and pretend they are the same?

  16. great questions… check out my latest blog post on the results of the question “polling”

    https://jwalexander71.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/you-asked-for-it-series-launches-this-sunday/

    many of your questions are “contained” within one of the larger questions.

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