This is a halloween special. In this episode it’s time to demystify the devil and demons. It’s time to discover their secret powers, and find out more about demon possession and how demons are cast out. You’re going to find out how they effect you and how to protect yourself (sorry, garlic and silver bullets won’t work). This awesome episode pulls references from all over the Bible which makes it a great summary of what you need to know about The Devil, Demons and Disciples.
I walked out of my grade 10 math exam with a big smile on my face because I felt that had just aced a midterm without studying at all. A week later, after I had received my mark, I walked out of class very slowly and dejected because I had discovered that my confidence was sorely misplaced. My grade 10 math test required more than what I was putting into it. I’ve made the same mistake with my Christianity from time to time. God is eternally gracious and never stops calling us, but I’m finite and I reap the consequences of my choices. Christianity begins with God’s expensive gift of mercy, and it is embraced with our expensive gift of personal engagement. So, what does that look like? How Hard Is It To Be A Christian?
Everyone who wants to can enter into a friendship with God purely by choosing to believe in Jesus. Easy, peasy, no effort required – it’s a total act of faith. However, after that initial choice there is absolutely some relational elbow grease needed to stay in the relationship – faith eventually comes to look like faithfulness. So, there seems to exist a potential contradiction. If Salvation is a work of grace (obtainable by people who absolutely can’t be good enough), then why is it conditional on good performance once a friendship is established? In this episode we focus on Hebrews 4:1-11 and answer the question, Is Christianity Harder Than The Work You’re Putting Into It?
It’s hard to read many of the stories in the Old Testament. One moment I read about awesome miracles like the plagues and the parting of the sea, then the next moment I read about people denying God’s existence. Those stories are not just historical, and about other people, they’re about today and they’re about me (and you). God is awesome, but we tend not to treat Him as awesome. God wants personal engagement, but we tend to give Him something less than personal. That’s a big deal because it leads toward disconnecting from God, and disconnecting from His benefits.
Lawnmowers and Christians have something in common. I have an electric lawnmower – the kind that requires a really long extension cord that’s never quite long enough. As I’m mowing the edge of my property I repeatedly pull the cord out of the wall. Disconnecting a plug is annoying. Similarly, I have a friendship with Jesus. When I treat it as anything other than a friendship the possibility exists that I can disconnect from Jesus. If I don’t get plugged back in that ends very badly. In Hebrews 3:1-6 the pastor warns his congregation that disconnecting from Jesus is possible and ends horribly, so in this passage he reveals How To Avoid Disconnecting.
With four kids and a Honey-Do List the one thing that gets most of my attention is my lack of focus. There are so many things that I’d really love to get done. They’re good things, too, not frivolous or self-gratifying. But, I find that I am torn in so many directions, and they all seem to be really important. Distraction is the focus. So, what is there to do about it?
Distraction isn’t unusual, it’s the norm. Most people I see follow very busy routines that welcome (and even invite) distraction. Within Christianity, distraction isn’t the problem that apostasy is, but it can be just as deadly. Both distraction and apostasy can end with a broken relationship with Jesus. That’s a really big deal, and it’s the reason why the pastor who wrote the sermon of Hebrews places so much emphasis warning against apathy. In today’s episode we’re going to discover what Hebrews 3:1-6 says about Slaying The Three Headed Monster Of Distraction.
In my fifth year of high school (anyone remember the OAC year?), since I knew I was headed to Tyndale, I had planned to do a co-op at my church. Unfortunately, my friend went a semester before I was to start. The pastor often found him sleeping in a Sunday school room or storage closet. The church’s experience was so negative that they cancelled my co-op. The job required more work than my friend was willing to put into it. Heads up, Christianity requires a lot of work, too. Since only Jesus can connect us to God we better be sure that we’re doing all we can to stay connected to Jesus, because it’s more than a cancelled co-op that’s at risk.
Hebrews can be a really scary book, or a really encouraging book. On the one hand, if you are actively pursuing Jesus as a friend, you’re sacrificing for Him, and you’re prioritizing Him, then Hebrews is awesome! However, if Jesus is one option among many, if He sometimes gets your attention and other times not, and if you’re treating Him and eternity too casually, then Hebrews should be terrifying for you. Hebrews warns us all that relationships have conditions, and the benefits of a relationship with Jesus comes only as we meet the conditions. In this episode focused on Hebrews 2:10-18, we explore some of the benefits that Jesus gives, and we’re warned to do this one thing (revealed in the episode) to make sure we don’t lose those benefits – why only Jesus can reconcile you to God, and what you have to do about it.