Welcome to tomthinking.com Saturday, February 24 2018 @ 03:47 PM UTC

Jesus Wants Us To Be Nice

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People are not the enemy. Democrats are not the enemy. Republicans are not the enemy. Atheists, Muslims, and Buddhists are not the enemy. Liberals and conservatives are not the enemy. The media is not the enemy. Communists, socialists, and millennials are not the enemy. Obama and Trump are not the enemy.

Would it surprise you to learn that Jesus was usually nice?

Sometimes Jesus said some not so nice things. But to whom did he say them and why? It wasn't to any of the above.

Reasons For Rejecting Jesus

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He told me that he no longer believed in Jesus or the Bible. After many years of church involvement and even ministry involvement, my friend turned away from Christianity and instead decided to embrace Buddhism. His chief reason for rejecting Jesus was the hypocrisy of Jesus' people.

Such a decision always cuts us to the core. When we hear that our bad behavior has lead someone away from Jesus it stings. We want the church to do better We want to do better. However, I'm not convinced that the bad behavior of some Christians is really the reason why such people give up Jesus.

M&Ms, Refugees & The Heart of God

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We can't let in 10,000 refugees because ten might be terrorists. Have you seen this M&M themed meme on social media? I think it's misguided, and here's why.

Abandoning Jesus

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I've spent a portion of my last few years praying for and grieving for a friend who once claimed Christ as his own, but over the years abandoned his faith in Jesus. He went from being active in his faith to hating Christianity, the church, and all it stands for. And it all came to fruition when he made a single decision. He told me about it over dinner one night. "You know, I don't believe the Bible is God's word anymore." From that point he lost his love for Jesus and his life since then has become a religious mess. In fact, he has since become one of the most hateful people I know. How could this happen?

"American Christianity Has Failed." No, It Hasn't, and Here's Why

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Stephen Mattson of Sojourners has written a scathing article accusing "White evangelicals" and more broadly, American Christianity, of failing to do what Jesus has commanded relative to the poor, needy, and refugees. Like many liberal writers who lambast conservatives or Christians, Mattson has painted American Christianity with a broad brush of condemnation based upon what is not only a foundationally flawed thesis, but a fundamentally false one at that. According to Mattson (and presumably, Sojourners), "Mainstream Christianity in America has failed. It looks nothing like Jesus." He goes on to challenge Christians by saying, "What benefit are Christians providing their communities, and what good are they contributing to the world around them? Because in America, it appears that the sole purpose of Christianity is to selfishly protect people’s own self-interests instead of sacrificially serving others."

Honey, I Love You With All My Mind

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Have you ever told someone you loved him or her with all your heart? You probably have. But have you ever told someone that you love him or her with all of your mind? I just told my wife that. She laughed at me. When I asked her why she laughed she responded that it was funny to hear because usually we say we love someone with all of our heart, not mind. But would it surprise you to know that we are commanded to love with our minds? This command is from one of the most famous passages in the Bible, but we don't usually think in this way. Matthew 22:37 says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Now, let's skip over the heart for a moment. We are all familiar with loving God and one another with our hearts (our emotions). And we can think of a few ways to love someone with our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5)—physical protection, serving a physical need, sex, and so on. But how do you love someone with "All of your mind?"

Paul & Fear

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Paul the powerful. Paul the Apostle. Paul the miracle worker. Paul, who faced down Romans, Greeks, Jewish authorities, and false believers. Paul, who overcame stoning, beatings, and arrest. What was Paul?

Paul was afraid.

Is There Time In Heaven?

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A few days ago I posted a question on Facebook asking people how much quality one-on-one time they could expect to get in Heaven with Jesus, considering the billions of people and angels that will be there. Several people responded with an answer I did not expect, which amounted to saying that in Heaven there is no time. Thus, we won't experience the passing of time like we do now on Earth. I'd like to make the case that, in fact, there is time in Heaven right now, there will be time when we get to Heaven, and we will always experience time, forever, in the new Heaven and Earth.

Confused by Creationism Redux

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I first wrote this article in 2013 to address the various views on creationism. I've found it necessary to update the presentation and include a sixth interpretation of Genesis known as Functional Ontology.

It may be Christianity’s most controversial subject: creationism. Forget the secular theories of the Big Bang and Evolution for a moment. Within the body of the Christian church there are at least six different views on the general subject of creationism. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and because of that many Christians have trouble deciding what they actually believe about the Bible’s accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. Advocates on particular sides of the debate haven’t always been known for treating people of the other views with respect. This turns off many nonbelievers watching from the outside.

Recognizing Assumptions

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For some time I’ve involved myself in a few creation science groups online, monitoring people’s claims and reactions about the age of the earth, biblical data on origins, and scientific influences in biblical interpretation. Of all issues that are discussed, the age of the earth and length of days God took to create are not only the most discussed, but the most controversial topics. After observing a recent discussion on the length of days defined in scripture I was reminded about a class I recently taught on inductive Bible study and the four elements necessary for a complete study. I provide four components in effective Bible study: