7(ish) Christian PODCASTS worth giving a listen

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I have a long commute to work and I love music, but after spending several hours a week in my car, I easily overplay even my newest and all-time favorite albums to where I start to get bored.  Thus, podcasts are a lifesaver.

Other than thought-provoking entertainment, I’ve discovered 3 other benefits to listening to Christian podcasts:

(1)  The right podcasts give you access to topnotch Christian scholars, pastors, and thinkers, and these people have a wealth of experience and knowledge.

(2)  Even as a seminary student and an avid reader, I’ve come to realize the knowledge I gain from my podcast listening is substantial (and the effort is minimal).

(3)  Podcasts are up-to-date and current, addressing topics of importance right now.

So, even if you don’t have a long commute, pick a podcast to listen to while you’re folding the laundry or mowing the lawn or eating breakfast.  If you can’t listen to a whole show in one sitting, so what? — Listen to it in parts, even if it’s just for 10 minutes at a time.

To check out these podcasts, I’d recommend using itunes (go under podcasts and do a search).  This is the easiest option, but I have also included links to the podcasts, usually on the hosts’ websites.  (Click on the address in this article to connect to it.)

Since I have an interest specifically in Christian apologetics (the rational defense of the Christian faith) and theology, most of the podcasts here focus on those subjects.  These are the podcasts I most listen to and recommend:

(1) APOLOGETICS 315

www.apologetics315.com/p/interviews.html

Apologetics 315 is a great place for this article to start because it’s a great place for someone new to apologetics to start as well.  The format is simple: host Brain Auten interviews Christian writers, theologians, professors, philosophers, pastors, and pretty much anyone else involved in some sort of apologetics.  Not only have I benefited from the knowledge passed on in the actual interviews, but also I’ve learned of other great podcasts, books, and websites about Christian apologetics by those being interviewed.

The Upside:

Great in-depth interviews with lots of insight!

The Downside:

Some of the interviews/interviewees can be dry.  Some of the scholars use lingo that will lose those not in their field.

Also:

The website Apologetics315.com is a great resource itself!

Some recommended interviews:

Tim McGrew, Ravi Zacharias, Gary Habermas, Alvin Plantinga, Ron Rhodes

interview-brian-auten

(2) UNBELIEVABLE?

http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable

This British radio show/podcast is primarily debates/discussions between people of opposing views on subjects that fall into the realm of Christianity, whether it is Christians debating atheists or other non-Christians or Christians debating Christians about issues within the church.  Justin Brierley, the host, does a great job of fairly mediating the debate/discussion.  Some big names on the program include N.T. Wright, one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars, and Richard Dawkins, everyone’s favorite atheist.

The Upside:

Unbelievable? gives you a good look at controversial issues and exposes you to opposing views on that issue.

The Downside:

Episodes tend to be about 1 1/2 hours and sometimes that is barely enough time to scratch the surface of some of these issues.

Also:

The debates in all the episodes I have listened to so far have been civil.  Hopefully, they all are.

Some recommended episodes:

NT Wright on Paul, Hell, Creation, Adam, Eve, & More; Catholic vs. Protestant debate on Sola Scriptura [scripture alone]; Does the rock and fossil record point to Noah’s flood or evolution?; Darwin’s Doubt – Stephen C Meyer & Charles Marshall debate ID [intelligent design]; Is the Mormon Church having a crisis of Faith?

(3) STAND TO REASON

http://www.str.org/explore#&format=PodcastEntry

Another straightforward podcast/radio show: Greg Koukl opens by sharing some thoughts concerning our faith, and then he answers callers’ questions on any number of topics encompassing Christianity — anything from personal application of biblical teachings to interpreting scripture to philosophical issues and apologetics.

The Upside:

Greg Koukl’s ability to confidently, satisfactorily, and evenhandedly answer the vast diversity of questions he receives is testimony to his wealth of experience and what a valuable resource of information one man can be.

The Downside:

A single episode is 3 hours long, so you’ll most likely have to listen in parts or simply skip the calls that don’t interest you.  Also, sometimes I find myself waiting for Koukl’s opening monologue to end so we can get to the callers.

Also:

Did I mention how impressed I am by Koukl’s ability to smoothly answer the vast array of questions he receives in any given episode?

Some recommended episodes:

You’re pretty much at the mercy of what the callers have questions about, so any given episode covers a variety of subjects.  The episode listings give some of the topics covered, so just scan them and see what catches your eye.

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(4) THE BRIEFING

 www.albertmohler.com/category/the-briefing/

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, examines current world news from a Christian perspective.  New episodes are posted every Monday through Friday, each episode is about 20 minutes long.  Dr. Mohler gives an overview of the news stories, and then he follows with commentary.

The Upside:

Great, quick way to keep up on important news and issues that should interest Christians one way or another (and are not always covered by the mainstream media).

The Downside:

Since it’s a 20-minute podcast and Dr. Mohler covers several stories, don’t expect a lot of depth.  (Though the amount of information he packs into 20 minutes is impressive!)

Also:

Being a SBTS student, I was, of course, aware of Dr. Albert Mohler, but when I first listened to the podcast, I was surprised (and impressed) by his smooth, radio-friendly voice, which reminds me of newscasters of old.

 

(5) BACKPACK RADIO

http://backpack.podbean.com/

I like Backpack Radio because the hosts take theology and apologetics seriously without taking themselves too seriously.  So don’t be surprised to hear some talk about G.I. Joe, Star Wars, or Mr. Bill between serious discussions about our faith.  Hosted by Vocab Malone, a former hiphop artist and current seminary student and pastor, along with two senior pastors, Vermon Pierre and Bob Korljan.  Pastor Bob, being the older, more experienced pastor, is a great foil and “straight-man” to Vocab’s youthful energy and goofiness.  The show is meant to have a “street level” young, urban feel.  It does this well without overdoing the whole “street” thing or underplaying the Word.

The Upside:

A good balance of seriousness and fun that few can pull off.

The Downside:

Sometimes the goofing around can get them off subject (but this also gives Backpack Radio its unique charm).  Also, they don’t usually have the “big names” some other podcasts do, but again, this gives the show its unique charm; the guests tend to be “everyday” types as opposed to fancy-pants scholars, which is part of their “street level” flavor.

Also:

Backpack Radio introduced me to quality Christian hiphop!  Thanks!

Some recommended episodes:

False Teachers & Lyrical Theology; Being Black and Reformed; The Mailman Apologist; Reformation History; Facebook Epistemology

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(6) WAYNE GRUDEM’S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

http://christianessentialssbc.com/messages/

http://www.waynegrudem.com/

Wayne Grudem is one of the top biblical scholars in the world, and his Systematic Theology book is required reading for many seminary students.  These podcasts are recordings of classes Dr. Grudem taught at his church, going through his entire book subject-by-subject, covering all of the essential teachings of Christianity.  Do you have questions about the Atonement, the Trinity, or the inerrancy of scripture?  How about miracles or church government?  The person of Christ or the Holy Spirit?  It’s all covered (and more)!  Dr. Grudem also interacts with the class in discussions and addresses questions, which furthers understanding.

The Upside:

Like his Systematic Theology book, Dr. Grudem explains Christian theology in a clear, easy-to-follow manner that is not light on scriptural support or depth.

The Downside:

The series has long been finished, so there won’t be any new episodes posted.

Also:

Despite being a “big name” in the Christian academic world, Dr. Grudem’s humility comes through in these podcasts, and he’s a great teacher.  To have access to him, thanks to modern technology, is a huge blessing.  (And he might have one of the most contagious laughs I’ve ever heard.)

(7) SERMON PODCASTS

OK, maybe you don’t want apologetics, philosophical or theological arguments, or debates.  You just want to make it through the day and you need to be fed by God’s Word.  Most pastors post their sermons on itunes or their churches’ websites.  So, a simple search should bring up plenty of options.

Don’t have anyone in mind?

You can’t go wrong with sermons from pastors/authors Tim Keller or John Piper:

Tim Keller:

http://connect.pure.com/p#!/it/content/podcast/5228578-timothy-keller-podcast

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/redeemer-free-sermon-resource

John Piper:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/by-topic

(8) RADIOLAB “THE GOOD SHOW”

Finally, I’d like to recommend a specific episode of NPR’s Radiolab, one of my favorite non-Christian podcasts/radio shows.  Radiolab is a science-based show that takes a theme each episode and explores it through highly entertaining and interesting segments.  “The Good Show” (Show #901 – Season 9) attests to altruism in nature, and indirectly confirms the Christian worldview of loving our neighbors, sacrificial love, and turning the other cheek.  The hosts start the show by stating that evolution is based on meanness (survival of the fittest), then they ask: Is there niceness in nature?  Trust me; check it out.  (Then let me know what you think.)

http://www.radiolab.org/archive/   *Season 9: The Good Show – show #901

**If you check out any of these podcasts, please be sure let me know in the comments below & to share your thoughts on them!**

Grudem

Essential reading & reference…

More Christmas Comics! New 2013! Merry Christmas!!!

Here’s some more of my homemade Christmas comics, including the new one for this year!

Merry Christmas!

-Steve

PS. Click on the comic to enlarge it.  But you might still have to zoom in on your computer to read them….

2010

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2011

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2013

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Read more about Steve’s comments from the comic above in his blog articles:

When was Jesus Born? & The 3 Wise Men  Click here.

Where was Jesus Born?  Click here.

Check out more of my Christmas comics here.

Christmas According to an English Teacher

christmas-star

I’m not an ordained pastor or priest.  I’m an English teacher.  Yes, I ‘m currently a seminary student, and perhaps I’ll be a pastor some day, but at this moment I’ve been an English teacher for  13 years and a seminary student for only a little over a single year.

From an English teacher’s point of view, the Bible is a fascinating piece of literature.  It’s a collection of individual documents covering a span of about 2,000 years accumulated into one volume.  These individual documents come in many forms of literature, including poetry, proverbs, letters, and historical narratives, the most recent being written a little less than 2,000 years ago.  Not only all that, but it is arguably the most influential and widely-read book in the history of the world.  Whether Christian or not, any literature teacher (or history teacher, for that matter) should be drawn to the Bible.

Speaking strictly from a literary standpoint, whether someone believes the stories in the Bible to be literal or symbolic is not imperative to understanding its message.  A person’s belief that the Bible is historically untrue has no bearing on its message, just as disbelieving talking pigs does not destroy the message of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Many skeptical, non-Christian biblical scholars understand the message of the Bible just fine.

In college, I was trained to examine the smallest parts of literature (even to the point of debating the connotation of a single word), but also to look at the work as a whole.  Despite the Bible being a collection of works written by many authors under differing circumstances over a 2,000-year time span, when we step back and look at it, interestingly, there is a clear storyline running throughout and a central message.

The Bible can be split into two major sections: Before Christmas (Old Testament) and after Christmas (New Testament).  The four books that start the New Testament, which record four independent accounts of Jesus’ ministry, are called the Gospel.  It’s in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that we get the story of Christmas.

But before Christmas, we have the Old Testament.  The Old Testament does a thorough job of showing that God has every reason to clean his hands of us.  The first stories of the Bible tell of selfishness, betrayal, and violence.  The infamous stories of Adam and Eve’s fall, Cain’s murder of Adel, and God’s destruction of the wicked except for those on Noah’s Ark are just the beginning of a long history of humankind betraying God’s vision of Earth.  Much later, Paul writes in one of his letters that we all “fall short of the glory of God.”

Despite what some think, the Bible is not a book filled with holy, flawless people.  Even the heroes of the faith such as Moses, David, and Solomon, committed great sins.  If these men couldn’t get it right, what hope is there for the rest of us?  Indeed, at times, some in the Bible believed God had abandoned us altogether — and rightfully so.  In a collection of 150 prayers and praises, one of the Psalms laments, “How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?”

Eventually, God allows even his own chosen people of Israel to be taken into captivity and Jerusalem and the Temple of God to be destroyed because they have strayed so far from him.  Despite this, God still preserved his people and allowed them to return from exile and rebuild their Temple and city.  Though this was a reason for celebration, the glory days of Israel were no more.  The Temple rebuilt didn’t live up to the former splendor of the Temple built by King Solomon; Israel lamented, understanding this clearly.

Malachi the prophet closes the Old Testament with a message of coming justice and judgment.  Though within the troubling words of Malachi and the other prophets there are hints of a future hope, one can’t help but feel the Old Testament ends on a down note.

Then, for four hundred years, God is silent.

Nothing written during this time becomes part of the Bible, the Holy Scripture.

Those centuries, history tells us, were a time of war and oppression for Israel.  After the Persian Empire’s rule, the Greeks under Alexander the Great conquered them.  Then came the Roman Empire.

But during the rule of the Romans — and after four hundred years of silence from God:  Christmas.

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The Gospels tell us that about 2,000 years ago God Himself entered time and space, to be born as a child, and to live and suffer like us.  The angel who brings the news to Mary tells her to name the child Jesus.  Jesus means “the Lord saves.”

If we only look at the Old Testament, many would say the message of the Bible is bleak and depressing.  But here’s the thing: when Jesus was born, an angel appeared to some shepherds and said, “Do not be afraid.  I bring good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

In the New Testament, Jesus’ message is referred to as the good news.  He tells his disciples to go out and spread it.  In fact, “gospel” means “good news” and “evangelize” comes from the Greek word literally meaning to spread good news.

So, what do we do when we receive good news?  We gather and celebrate.  We sing and dance.  We hug, laugh, even cry.  We sing and eat together and dance.

Any sin (even the sin of godly men like Moses, David, and Solomon) separates us from God, a being whose very nature is eternal goodness.  So, God did the only thing that could be done about this.  He became a man, lived a perfect life, and took the punishment that he didn’t deserve but we did.  Anyone can read the Bible and understand this message, but one must believe it to benefit from it.  God has given this free gift, but a gift must also be accepted.

I’m not an ordained pastor or priest.  I’m an English teacher, trained to analyze literature to a point that would make most people nauseous.  And the core of what the Bible says about Christmas is this:

A child named The Lord Saves has been born.  God has not abandoned us.  Celebrate the good news.

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Christmas According to History

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It’s interesting; what most of us know about the first Christmas is not based on the New Testament and history, but on popular culture – Christmas carols, TV specials and movies, and even nativity displays.

In my last few articles, we’ve explored what is actually recorded in the New Testament and what we can also know from history.  We’ve looked at the location of Jesus’ birth and the situation surrounding it (read here); the wise men and the date of Jesus’ birth (read here); we’ve also explored what we know about Jesus’ family (read here).  Further, we began the series by looking at the historic reliability of the New Testament documents themselves, and we saw that they are clearly the most attested to historical documents of the ancient world (read here).  The only reason any historians doubt their authenticity is because of their reporting of supernatural events.

So, what else does history – the New Testament and other historic information – tell us about the first Christmas?  It seems odd to many today that Caesar Augustus would have a census requiring everyone to travel back to the city of their birth (especially considering the lack of modern vehicles).  Yet archeology has shown that these sorts of censuses were not uncommon in those days.

History also tells us that King Herod was a man perfectly capable of having every infant and toddler boy in a city murdered.  He had his wife, three of his sons, and over 300 others he perceived as threats to his power killed.  He also gathered respected citizens of Jerusalem for a mass execution to be carried out at the moment of his death.  He wanted people to actually grieve on the day of his death since he was so loathed.  Luckily, this plot didn’t work out; after he passed, no one carried out the orders.

When you get down to it, the four Gospels tell us little about the first Christmas.  Only two, Matthew and Luke, write about Jesus’ birth.  History outside the New Testament tells us less.  The ancient historians of the Roman elite had no interest in a rabbi from the backwaters of their vast empire.  Their primary interest was writing of powerful rulers and conquerors.

Good reading...

Good reading…

But it is interesting to note what all four Gospels do report: Jesus’ ministry, his crucifixion, and his resurrection.  To the first Christians, these events were the most important information — the crux — of Jesus’ life.  And what does history outside the New Testament tell us about the adult Jesus?   Ancient historians Tacitus, a Roman pagan, and Josephus, a Jew, confirmed that Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus.  Along with Pliny, another Roman, they confirmed that the followers of Jesus didn’t disappear after the crucifixion like followers of other “messiahs” executed by the Romans did.  In fact, their number abruptly grew and continued to do so!

Later, history tells us in 165 AD and 251 AD epidemics swept through the Roman Empire, killing a third of the population.  Where pagans fled the cities, leaving the sick to die, Christians stayed behind and cared for the infected, many taking “on themselves the sickness of their neighbor” and “in nursing and caring for others, transferred their death to themselves.”  In the mid-300’s, Roman Emperor Julian actually complained in letters to pagan high priests that the Christians’ numbers were growing because of their charity and kindness, and Christians “support not only their poor, but ours as well; everyone can see that our people lack aid from us.”

With only three years of ministry, what must have Jesus been like — what could he have possibly done — to influence people in such a way?  This is whose birth we celebrate on December 25th.

Finally, we must remember that the first Christians and Jesus himself were Jewish.  Historic documents, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, show us that the ancient Jews were waiting for a warrior savior to drive out the Romans, a Messiah to lead their nation to liberation and glory.  The Messiah they received on the first Christmas was something totally unexpected.  Who came instead was not a warrior king, but a messenger of peace and hope — a warrior of a different sort, who would bring victory not in a physical war but a spiritual war.

As Dustin Kensrue sings:

“This is war like you ain’t seen.

The winter’s long; it’s cold and mean.

With hangdog hearts we stood condemned,

But the tide turns now at Bethlehem.”

In Bethlehem, God was born as a human infant, the only possible solution for a hopeless situation.  Forever separated from an eternally good God by our sin, God became man, lived the perfect life that we could never live, and willingly experienced death, taking the just punishment for our sins, so we may not experience true death but eternal life.

This gift is free, but all gifts need to be accepted to benefit from them.  You cannot buy it or earn it; you can only accept it.

As a different song (covered by Kensrue; written by mewithoutyou) states:

“…with no money, come and buy
no clever talk, nor a gift to bring
requires our lowly, lovely king
come now empty handed, you don’t need anything”

***

Good listenin’…
Dustin Kensrue “This Good Night is Still Everywhere”

Homemade Christmas Comics! Merry Christmas!!

In college I drew comics and made a ‘zine (a homemade magazine before there was such a thing as blogs).  After college , I decided that instead of giving out Christmas cards, I’d draw an annual Christmas comic.  With the exception of last year, I’ve been doing it annually for just over 10 years now.  I’m not the best cartoonist, but people seem to enjoy them, so here are 3 years of comics.  I’ll post more and my new one for this year soon!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

-Steve

PS. Click on the comic to see it larger.  You might still have to zoom in on your computer to read them….

2007

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2008

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2009

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UFC Fighter Abstains from Sex & the Christian Conundrum of Sharing Faith

(I have a love for MMA — mixed martial arts.  I doubt there will be many times where MMA converges with the subject matter of this blog, so I have to seize the opportunity when it arises!  Read on…)

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UFC bantamweight mixed martial arts fighter Michael “Mayday” McDonald has what can be considered the biggest fight of his career this Saturday Dec. 14th against fan-favorite and former WEC champion Urijah Faber.  [UPDATE: McDonald lost to Faber via submission, Round 2.]  At only 22 years-old, with a record of 16-2 (14 of the wins by KO or submission) and only 1 loss [before his fight with Faber] since entering the UFC, few who follow MMA would disagree that McDonald is a rising force in professional fighting.

Yet, recently, he’s getting a lot of online attention for something totally unrelated to the fight: he revealed he has abstained from sex for 3 1/2 years.

The revelation came about in a radio interview when McDonald was asked if he “cuts out sex” before a fight, a practice many fighters do.  Of course, the cyber-world exploded with blogs and articles about it.

Later, when asked in an interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com if he was surprised by the reaction, McDonald answered:

“Yes and no. I am very proud of my abstinence. There was a time when it wasn’t even in my vocabulary. I’ve lived on both sides of the fence. People ask me, ‘Is it for your religious beliefs? Is it for your athletic believes? Why do you do this?’ I found it a little, wow, that people approached it and reacted to it almost the same as me saying, ‘Oh, I went three and a half years without food.’ Like I said, I lived on both sides of the fence and I know what God says and I decided that’s what I’m going to do because God says it. I’ve lived on both sides of the fence and now being on this side of the fence I just see that my life is better for it. I said I want to do this because God says it and after I did it I said, ‘This is, it’s great. It’s good.’ My life is better like this and I made the choice to stay this way and to keep it this way.”

(Watch the interview here.  The comment about his abstinence comes at the end at 8:50.)

I don’t know much about McDonald, but from what I could gather from articles, he became a Christian sometime in 2009, and he is engaged.  One article briefly spoke of his conversion, and quotes McDonald saying, “Either I reached the point of insanity and there were voices in my head talking to myself or God talked to me.  Something in my head told me, ’He loves me and cares about me.’”

McDonaldSherwoodGlove

THE CHRISTIAN CONUNDRUM

I have to say, it was refreshing to hear an athlete speak about his faith in Christ in a natural and humble way.  Having been on the other side of “the fence” (as McDonald puts it.  Funny, I often explain it the same way) as an ardent atheist for over ten years before I became a Christian, it still can be awkward for me to speak about my faith to nonbelievers for a number of reasons.  One reason is the poor fashion in which many Christians have shared their faith with others.  So, it’s always a blessing when a discussion about my faith comes about naturally, as it did with McDonald.

McDonald didn’t awkwardly jam his faith into the interview; he simply and honestly answered a question given to him.  When asked for further clarification, he again answered honestly.  Moreover, he answered humbly.  He didn’t put others down; he didn’t elevate himself; and he didn’t go on a longwinded rant.

But what I found surprising (though I shouldn’t) were the harsh comments posted under the interview video because of his confession of faith.  Yes, of course, McDonald saying something as counter-cultural as he voluntarily abstains from sex would raise a lot of eyebrows, but the majority of the comments were bigoted, close-minded, and judgmental.  Others belittled Christianity, many comments presenting the faith in such a way that would surely convert me back to atheism if their portrayal of Christianity were, if fact, accurate.  I guess I didn’t expect what I considered McDonald’s even-handed, modest response to bring about such hostility.  To respond to much of these comments would be a waste of energy, just like addressing the hatful speech of the Westboro (so called) Baptist (so called) Church.

But the sorts of comments that trouble me the most are those that promote an idea that goes something like this:

Religious people should keep their religion to themselves.

or

You’re a good athlete.  I like that.  But keep your mouth shut about God.

One person even wrote:

“He comes across as a confident, likeable kid…if only he could keep a lid on the religion thing a little, he sounds kinda weird expressing that side of him…”

So, what are Christians to do?  Christians have often been accused of trying to force their beliefs down others’ throats.  Truthfully, there is a good reason that stereotype exists – because there is some truth to it.  But what about McDonald?  Did he force his faith down anyone’s throat?  Did he self-righteously proclaim all must repent or perish?

This is the Christian conundrum of our day:  Even in a country of free speech and freedom of religion, mention of God is immediately chastised.

To my non-Christian friends, here are 3 reasons I’d hope you’d consider about why Christians can’t help but talk about their faith:

1. Jesus Tells Us To

The first reason (which you’re probably already aware of) is that Christians are commanded by Jesus Christ himself to share our faith.  This is commonly called The Great Commission, best seen in Matthew 28:18-20:

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”

I understand that you may want to roll your eyes every time a Christian invites you to church or a Bible study, but please consider this: If you were sure there was a God, and God told you to do something, would you take that command seriously?  I know the idea of God may be absurd to you, but imagine you knew there were a God.  Wouldn’t you listen?

2.  We Want to Share a Good Thing

Have you ever heard a great song and just had to share it with someone?  How about a great movie?  Have you ever discovered an amazing restaurant?  Afterwards, did you not tell a friend about it?

How about something more important than food or music?  What if you found a new exercise that made you fit, healthy, and feel great?  Would you tell anyone?  What about if you found the cure for a common cold?  How about the cure for cancer?  Would you keep it to yourself?

Those who truly follow Jesus Christ have found what they believe is the most beautiful thing imaginable.  Why wouldn’t we want to share it?  Furthermore, we believe Jesus Christ is the only hope for all of us.  In the Christian worldview, not sharing this wouldn’t be just selfish but downright hateful.  Again, I understand that some professed “Christians” have shared the good news of Jesus Christ in unloving ways, but please understand: even if you find it annoying, the person sharing Christ with you is most likely doing it out of love.

3.  It’s Our Life 

Finally, if someone has truly given his or her life to following Jesus Christ, he or she lives accordingly – and that means his or her whole life.  Christianity isn’t something you just do on Sunday; it encompasses your whole life and all of your being.  Because of this, if you interact with someone who is a Christian, their faith is going to come up in conversations.  There’s no way around this; if you’re going to be interacting with Christians, it’s unavoidable.

Think of it this way: MMA is a big interest of mine.  I’ve trained martial arts for over 14 years.  I’ve spent a lot of time training, watching, and thinking about MMA.  In conversations with people I know outside the gym, even if our mutual relationship has nothing to do with martial arts, eventually that person is going to learn this about me; the longer they know me, the more often it will come up.  It may come up because I’m asked what my plans are for Monday night, or it may come up because I have a black eye.

This is much more true with Christianity.  Can you imagine saying to someone, “I like you, but just don’t ever talk about your family” or “I respect you, but you better not talk about your career”?  Likewise, but even more so, to say to someone, “You have  rights as a human being, but don’t ever talk about God” is a contradiction to people of faith on the scale of Orwellian doublespeak.

Jesus Christ isn’t just a part of my life; he encompasses all of my life.  That means my faith in him effects how I teach at work, how I interact with my wife, how I drive my car, and even how I train in MMA.  So, if a person wants to know me, they’re going to learn of my faith.  It’s inevitable.

And I do not mean this in the sense of: I’m going to talk about it whether you like it or not, so deal with it.  What I mean is, if you truly want to know me – heck, even if you don’t want to know me, but we talk regularly – eventually my faith is going to come out naturally (and humbly, I hope) just as Michael McDonald’s faith came up when he was asked about his sex life.

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