Category Archives: Tough Questions

How I deal with the tough questions of life and faith.

My Statement to the Lafayette City Council on Gender Identity

Last night, the Lafayette City Council met to consider putting an amendment into the Lafayette Human Relations Ordinance. Some time ago, the city codified a “Human Relations Ordinance” to fight against discrimination in our town. It created a Human Relations Commission tasked with the job of investigating cases of discrimination in our city and offering suggestions and education to individuals and businesses found to be discriminatory.

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A Different Question about Gender Differences

This past week, I tried an experiment.

I posted a couple images to my Facebook timeline that I thought had the potential to become somewhat viral. That is, I thought these images would be shared around Facebook, and I wanted to see how widely they would go.

Well, my little experiment took me in a different direction than I thought it would.

So here’s the back-story. Continue reading

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To Tithe or Not to Tithe

Church Planting Front Page Tough Questions

In a recent conversation I had with a church planting friend of mine, the topic of the tithe came up, and I thought it might be interesting for me to put down in this forum what I am teaching my church regarding giving.

Having been heavily influenced by the likes of Andy Stanley, Randy Alcorn, and my own Dad, I have become convinced that teaching percentage-based giving is not only the number one kind of giving to encourage in our people, but I have also become convinced that the church organization should structure its budget based on the tithes of the people without regard to special offerings, designated funds, or anything above and beyond the tithe.

However, I know there are two major problems with my approach: Continue reading

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How should Christians live out God’s ideal of justice?

Front Page Tough Questions

Occasionally, I get really deep questions turned in on our Sunday Connect Cards, and this past Sunday, I received this one:

I noticed that two of the songs played in service this morning mentioned justice as something God has and uses to demonstrate his goodness. If one of the classic arguments against belief in a personal God is perceived injustice in the Bible – God plays favorites, the wholesale slaughter of thousands of men, women, children by the Hebrews, the concept of Hell, etc. – how should we answer that charge? On a less philosophical level, how should Christians demonstrate the ideal of God’s justice in our daily lives? How do we commit to something so ephemeral and confusing?

This is such a big question that I responded to the author by email but thought it might be worthwhile to post it here as well. What follows is my response. Continue reading

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Why do we say “Amen” at the end of prayers?

Front Page Tough Questions

Recently, a note came to me from someone in our church with an interesting question. It said this:

Why is it that sometimes your prayers do not end with “Amen”? Is there a biblical reason why we do or do not say amen after prayers?

I responded personally, but I also felt my answer might benefit others, so here it is in blog form.

The Meaning of “Amen”

First, the word Amen is a Hebrew word that comes from the Hebrew root AMN which means faith/faithfulness. Strangely enough, this same root word shows up in a variety of other Hebrew words including words for the firm columns supporting a roof. Continue reading

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What if God chooses not to “elect” my children?

Front Page Tough Questions VIP

During the Summer, I worked through the book of Romans in my Sunday messages at Lafayette Community Church. To hear the messages, visit the Great News II page.

One of the topics that Romans raises is the notion of election vs. free will. I took a rather strong position from Romans 9-11 that God chooses who will be saved. I taught that everyone has the freedom to choose God, but because of sin’s deceitfulness no one does unless God makes the first move to choose them and draw them to himself.

This has raised some very interesting questions in our church’s “CONNECT” cards over the past couple of months, and one that came in this past week really got me thinking. Tonight, I wrote a long response to the couple that asked the question, and I thought it would make sense to post the answer here as well. Continue reading

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Is Modern Worship too Simplistic?

Front Page Leadership Tough Questions

Earlier this week, a discussion among the worship band members at my church pointed to this article where Bill Blankschaen describes his frustration with worship songs sung in churches on Sunday mornings and tells us “Why I’ve stopped singing in your church.”

As of this writing right now, he has 241 comments, and he only wrote it three days ago (July 15). Clearly, he has struck a nerve—a nerve deep enough to get my worship band talking about it, and a nerve deep enough to make me blog about it.

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Reflections on Sin

Front Page Leadership My Spiritual Life Tough Questions

Some Context

This past week, a number of stories came out in my local newspaper reporting on and analyzing the arrest of a local pastor. He has been accused of placing and monitoring video equipment in the female bathrooms at the church. If you haven’t read the articles, don’t worry about not knowing the details. I’m not going to address the specifics of that story, but it has burdened my heart so much that I feel a need to reflect here in my semi-public space what these moral failures reveal about God, humanity, and the state of the church. Continue reading

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Harmony Not Unison

Front Page Tough Questions

I have just finished my sermon series on gender issues in the Bible and how to understand the biblical teaching on the topic. If you want to hear the entire series, you can click here:

http://lafayettecc.org/news/gatherings/080-born-this-way/

Now, I promised you that I would write some articles here regarding some of the most controversial passages in the Bible regarding gender, and as a matter of fact, I have addressed a good number of them in my four sermons on the topic, but in the process, I have not had the time to write up the articles I wanted to write. Continue reading

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Boys and Girls Part 1

Front Page Tough Questions

This past Sunday, I started a series of messages at Lafayette Community Church entitled “Born this Way” in which I intend to investigate the number of different Bible passages on gender issues.

The biggest problem for me was that for most of the week, I was wrestling with how to tackle the message. You see, there are a lot of controversial passages in the Bible when it comes to gender issues, and I always want to teach the Bible in a compelling, motivational way, and I am always cautious to teach in such a way that the contentious emotions can be defused. So I struggled with the message.

I actually had two different angles I could have gone with the message. One angle was to tackle the emotions by sharing personal stories in light of Genesis 1-3 and illustrating the beauty of our gender differences. The other angle was to survey the major passages in the Bible to get a comprehensive overview of its teaching. Continue reading

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The Church: Can you be a Christian without going to church?

Front Page Tough Questions

This post is part of a series investigating the most important items of Christian doctrine. View all posts by clicking here or the DOGMA tag above.

This past Sunday, I ended our service by taking some live questions from the congregation, but I wasn’t able to address all the questions live. Therefore I’m tackling some of them through this blog.

Does this mean that you cannot be a Christian unless you go to church?

The simple answer is that you can be a Christian without going to church if you define “Christian” Continue reading

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The Church: Why Sundays?

Front Page Tough Questions

This post is part of a series investigating the most important items of Christian doctrine. View all posts by clicking here or the DOGMA tag above.

This past Sunday, I ended our service by taking some live questions from the congregation, but I wasn’t able to address all the questions live. Therefore I’m tackling some of them through this blog.

If the church is the community of believers who are to be continually gathering and working to build the kingdom, why do we meet on Sunday mornings the way we do? How does this fit and/or conflict with the picture of the church in Acts?

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