Destroying your sanity and peace just to avoid a tough discussion is not godly or sacrificial. A sacrifice is made when it benefits someone. Just letting someone behave badly because you don’t want to say anything is not a sacrifice, it is enabling.

Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 89 of the Say That podcast

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Biblical Conspiracies

Several folks asked:

Did your hear about this “Covert Messiah” thing? It sounds like a typical conspiracy theory kind of thing, but some of my friends are really confused by it. Can you give me a good way of responding to it?

I answered:

There has been some noise on the internet recently about a man named Joseph Atwill having “discovered” that the story of Jesus was created, and the Bible written, by the Romans as a way to pacify the rebellious Jewish subjects in 1st century Judea. 

This whole thing is another example of the need to remember that just because something is in a book, or in the news, does not mean it has any validity; it means someone is trying to sell a book or gain ratings/newspaper sales. Let’s look at some facts.

Mr Atwill is not a historian, his college degree is in computer science.(http://caesarsmessiah.com/blog/about/)

He claims to have “discovered” parallels between the New Testament and the historical account given by Jewish-Romans historian Josephus, but those similarities have been known by scholars for years. (http://www.amazon.com/Josephus-New-Testament-Steve-Mason/dp/0801047005/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381687963&sr=1-1&keywords=josephus+and+the+new+testament)

Mr Atwill’s book on this subject was not published by a University Press (it was published independently) , and was originally published in 2005. http://www.amazon.com/Caesars-Messiah-Conspiracy-Flavian-Signature/dp/1461096405/ref=pd_sim_b_3

The reason Mr Atwill is in the news now is because he is having a conference in London to present his theory. This is not an academic conference. Anyone can get in for a fee of £25. (http://www.covertmessiah.com)

This is not a case of an academic discovering new historical evidence. It is a case of someone coming up with an outlandish statement and trying to make some money off of it. The theory is not respected in the academic community, nor even in many anti-religion communities who think Mr Atwill’s bad history is harming their cause.

The sad thing about all of this is that reason so many people want so badly to disprove Christianity is because of Christians. People who claim to follow Jesus often act in mean, judgmental, bullying ways. So of course people who have been mistreated by them want to try to strike back at what those people claim to believe in. 

The answer to things like this for Christians is not to shout louder, or counterattack. It is to live the way Jesus actually called his followers to: a life of loving, of looking out for people, helping others. If Christians were known for behaving that way, I don’t think Christianity would have so many people who wanted so badly for it to be untrue.

-Matt from The Bridge

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Righteousness comes from listening to God. There is nothing righteous about doing what you think the safest thing is and assuming God is signing off on that. For example, if a couple says ‘Obviously God thinks sex is dirty, so we won’t kiss until our wedding day’ that is no more righteous than going too far physically. In both cases, you are putting your own desires (safety or sexual release) in front of asking God what He wants.

Jed Brewer on episode 89 of the Say That podcast

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(missionusa.com/bridgebox)

How Do I Help the Poor When I Am Broke Myself?

Anonymous asked:

The Bible instructs us to help the poor, the widow and orphan and to give our lives to defend them. I’m having a hard time figuring out how much of my money I should be using to do that. Honestly, I don’t make that much money and after rent, utilities and groceries, there isn’t much left. Should I not be saving or putting money away into a 401k? Or should I just give it all away? I hear pastors ([Names of megachurch pastors and authors]) talk about giving it all away but what does that look like practically?

I answered:

It’s awesome that you are thinking about how much money you should give to help the poor. Despite the fact that Jesus is very serious about that topic (see Matthew 25), a whole lot of Christians just skip right over it because, if they thought about it, they might actually have to give something. So your heart is in the right place, and you are on the right track.

You have consulted scripture, that is right on track. You are asking for advice, that is important. The third ingredient in getting wisdom is to ask God directly in prayer. That is the most important step, but it is also the easiest to skip. God has a plan for your finances, just like He does for every other part of your life. Nobody else knows exactly what that is, so the only way to figure it out is to go to God directly.

Being righteous with your money is about doing what God wants you to do with it. It is not doing the most “extreme” thing and just assuming that God is on board with that. Another note, those Christian authors/megachurch pastors who are telling you to give it all away- they are wealthy. That doesn’t mean they are bad people, or that they are insincere about giving. They probably genuinely mean what they say, but they do have church salaries and, on top of that, book revenues and speaking gig fees. Again, nothing wrong with that, you just have to take it with a pinch of salt when rich guys are telling non-rich people what to do with their money.

The other issue with this idea of being extreme about your money is that it can veer into guilting people into giving, and that is not okay. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Giving should be a joy, an opportunity to partner in the work of the kingdom. It shouldn’t be an emotional burden.

It is not sinful to have a savings account. It is sinful to do whatever you want with your money without asking God. Your money is not yours. God gave it to you, it is His, and He has plans for it. I think it is fair to say that that plan includes you paying your rent, having food, and even having fun with your money; but it definitely includes looking out for the least of these.

You don’t have to be giving away huge sums of money to make a difference. There are folks across the world giving $8/month to BridgeBox. For some of them that is a real sacrifice, and all them are making a difference to the lives of poor people in Chicago. If you give what God calls you to, He will make that money make a difference. 

If there are times you have just no money to give (believe me, I relate) you have time to give. Go to a soup kitchen and help serve. Go to an old folks home and spend some time with those widows and widowers. Volunteer at Big Brothers/Big Sisters and step into the lives of kids who don’t have parents around.

If you take what you have before God, no matter how little it seems to you, He can turn that into something that will change lives, including yours.

-Matt from The Bridge

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