How Much of Your Life Do You Share on Social Media?

How Much of Your Life Do You Share on Social Media? I answered that question on this episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

 

Show Notes:

Principles:

  1. Something that thinks about itself all the time is usually a sign of something that is injured or broken.
  2. If we are having our needs met by a sovereign, loving, and all-sufficient Lord, we should not require constant attention from others.
  3. If the purpose of what you are doing is to draw attention to yourself and not to the Lord, there is probably a problem.
  4. If you are doing something online that is unwholesome, you can be sure it is not a good idea.
  5. If what you are doing is not for the good of others, but rather is self-advancing, it is not a worthy post.
  6. Invite feedback from others close to you who are willing to speak truth in love, and not just those who benefit from your post.
  7. We often regret the things we say more than the things we don’t say.
  8. Social media is a great medium for sharing the gospel, but don’t attract more attention to yourself than the gospel message.

Scripture:

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“I say to you, among those born of women there is no one  greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all  to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,…” Ephesians 4:29

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips”. (Proverbs 27:2)

“… clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” 1 Peter 5:6

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

Other Resources:

What Does It Mean to Have Your Life Hidden With Christ in God? (Colossians 3:3)

What Are Three Questions Good Friends Should Always Ask?

What Makes a Good Testimony?

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How Do I Talk to My Kids About Sex?

How Do I Talk to My Kids About Sex? I answered that question on this week’s episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

Show Notes:

God created and gave us the gift of sex, and we should not be ashamed to talk about it.

Using God-given things in a God forbidden way leads to sadness and destruction.

Principles:

1. Do not over-answer the question your child asks

2. Do not be afraid to use anatomically correct terms in conversation.

3. You want to create a safe and God-honoring place for your kids to ask their questions about sex.

4. God in His kindness allows us to participate with Him in the creation of people made in His image through the gift of sex.

5. The goal is not just sexual purity, but purity in relationship with God.

6. Tell your kids to seek Jesus, not a spouse. Seeking Him produces purity as a by-product. Seeking purity without Him produces guilt and shame.

7. One of the worst things we can do in talking to our kids about sex is to try to protect them from the dangers by saying sex is a dirty thing.

8. Don’t talk poorly about God’s gifts. Tell the truth about Satan and his schemes.

Scripture:
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4-5

“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” 1 Corinthians 7:4

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11

Summary:
1. Don’t over-answer the question.
2. Answer to the level of your child’s curiosity and age.
3. Give God glory. That gives your child the greatest sense of peace and sets them up for the greatest success.

Other Resources:
RTRQ: What Should I Do If I Find Myself in a Sexless Marriage?
RTRQ: How Do I Talk To My Children About LGBTQ Issues?
RESOURCE: Parenting Conversations: Sex and Purity
RESOURCE: How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex: Foundational Principles

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What Are Three Questions Good Friends Should Always Ask?

What Are Three Questions Good Friends Should Always Ask? I answer that question on this week’s episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

 

Show Notes:

Principles:

  1. Good friends ask questions to help you grow, improve, and experience the life God wants you to have.
  2. If you want to make a change, then you need to change your playmates and your playground.
  3. Good friends live authentically with each other.
  4. Good friends admonish each other faithfully.

Questions:
How are you feeding your soul?
How are you feeding your flesh?
How are you feeding others?

Scripture:
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him,
he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it…” Joshua 1:8

“He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called
“Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

“…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” Proverbs 28:13

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9

“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” 1 Peter 3:15

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Proverbs 25:11

“Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon the head…” Psalm 141:5

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6

“…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…” Hebrews 10:24

Other Resources:
What Does It Mean to Be a Fully Devoted Follower of Christ?
What Does It Mean to Be in Biblical Community?
If I’ve Already Confessed To God, Do I Need To Confess To Others?

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What the Church Gets Wrong About the LGBTQ Conversation

The following is a version of an editorial that first appeared in the Dallas Morning News.

In many ways, the Church has failed the LGBTQ community. Last week in St. Louis, we saw the latest example of this as the Methodist church remained divided over issues related to LGBTQ inclusion and corresponding discussion about same-sex marriage. Confusion and vitriol remain high, and God calls His people to bring clarity and compassion in times like these.

Historically, the Church has done a poor job of engaging in this conversation. It either speaks with hypocritical judgmentalism and condemnation or with a perverted view of compassion by embracing behavior that compromises human flourishing. Often, kindness and truth are abandoned, and civil discourse happens only after we taste the disastrous results of talking at one another instead of humbly listening to one another.

As has been said, the double trouble of the fool is always an open mouth and a closed mind.

While there are many I could list, here are four things I believe the Church gets wrong about the LGBTQ conversation:

  • Making LGBTQ behavior separate and more significant than other sins
  • Supporting the use of reparative therapy or gay conversion therapy
  • Staying silent in the face of sin
  • Affirming an LGBTQ lifestyle as compatible with Scripture

Simply put, God does not put a hierarchy on sin. God looks on heterosexual immorality, materialism, gossip, drunkenness, pride, or the idolatry of work with just as much sadness as He does same-sex sexual activity (Note: I did not say same-sex attraction/temptation). God intends for His Church to be salt and light. This means the Church must, among other things, work to prevent societal and moral decay. It must be a beacon of truth and grace amidst the darkening of conscience that occurs when we drift away from God’s plan for His people. However, the Church cannot fall into the trap of highlighting particular sins to the exclusion of others. If your church is willing to denounce LGBTQ behavior but says nothing of “no-fault divorce,” racism, or greed, then your church is failing to communicate God’s truth to the world. We cannot pick and choose which of God’s commandments to care about. “Churches” like Westboro Baptist are destructive to the cause of Christ and should be admonished for it.

Sadly, too many churches implore LGBTQ individuals to attend reparative therapy (or gay conversion therapy). Conversion therapy is defined as a psychological treatment designed to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual/bisexual to heterosexual. Conversion therapy, therefore, is biblically unnecessary, unhelpful, and harmful. It is worth clarifying since it has been incorrectly reported as such that this has never been endorsed or practiced at Watermark.

God’s Word does not call us to change a person’s sin struggle, but it does call us to proclaim God’s forgiveness for sin and to equip His people to struggle well against sin. We do not believe you can “pray the gay away.” We do not believe that Christians should strive to change anyone’s sexual orientation, but rather reorient a person’s affections for God through a proper understanding of the gospel. The goal is not that we would be free from certain forms of temptation, but rather that our hearts would increasingly love what God loves and choose His goodness above our own desires.

Temptation, in all forms, is a human condition – but it is not a terminal or self-defining one. The goal isn’t heterosexuality – there are a myriad of ways heterosexuality practices are sinful. The goal is holy sexuality.

When it is at its best, the Church enters into the LGBTQ conversation because it loves LGBTQ people. But it is never loving to stay silent in the face of sin. This is why refusing to address the LGBTQ conversation is just as unbiblical as addressing it poorly. The Lord asks His Church to stand firm in its convictions and beliefs. He is the source of truth and the way to life. It is a privileged job to call others to it. If there is an affront to truth and the biblical way of life, the Church must speak up. If we remain silent, we cannot say we truly love others. This means we communicate what the Scriptures say even if it makes us unpopular or misunderstood. Jesus was despised and ultimately killed for His faithfulness to the Father. We are okay with being criticized for ours.

The Church cannot change what the Bible says based on preference, political opinion, or the changing times. We fail in any conversation when we forget that the Bible is God’s Word and stands the test of time and culture. God’s people must stand with Him and do the same. In order to understand why the Bible does not affirm living an active LGBTQ lifestyle, we must look at what the Bible affirms:

God-ordained marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 19:4-9; Ephesians 5:31-33). Those who accept and live within God’s design for sex, biological gender, and marriage experience the blessing of His good design (Psalm 1:1-3; 128:1-4), and decisions to change, alter, or modify God’s will in marriage, sex, or gender are part of man’s brokenness and lead to despair (Romans 1:21-22; James 1:14-16).

We must hold fast to what the Bible says is true. Truth stands the test of time and culture, and God’s people stand with Him in every time and in every culture.

These are just a few of the ways the Church often fails to communicate clearly and compassionately about this topic. Thankfully, Jesus Christ offers everyone forgiveness and new life. He loves you and died on a cross for sinners like us. God is far more concerned with your heart than your behavior, but a heart that is transformed by His gospel leads to a transformed life. If you have felt betrayed or hurt by the Church’s response to the LGBTQ community, we invite you to come and see. Come visit us any day of the week. We would love to talk with you, not at you.

—-

Todd Wagner is the Senior Pastor at Watermark Community Church and the author of Come and See. Follow him on social media @wordsfromwags or email him at pastoraloffice@watermark.org.

Other Resources:

RTRQ: Can You Be a Gay Christian?

RTRQ: Is God Anti-Gay?

RTRQ: Should Christians Support Gay Conversion Therapy?

What Is One of the Best Ways to Judge the Health of a Nation?

What Is One of the Best Ways to Judge the Health of a Nation? I answer that question on this week’s episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

 

Show Notes:

Why Should Christians Care About Abortion?
What Is An Easy Way To Defend The Pro-Life Position?
Can You Give Me A Compelling Way To Talk With Others About The Difficult Issue Of Abortion?

Scripture:
“A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” Proverbs 12:10

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself
unstained by the world.” James 1:27

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the
extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the
least of them, you did it to Me” Matthew 25:40

“being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God
because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness
of their heart” Ephesians 4:18

“and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who
practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same,
but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” Romans 1:32

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good
repute in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God
for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first
and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

Other Resources:
CDC Study
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
Abortion Survivor Testimonies: Gianna Jessen
Peter Singer’s Statements About Abortion and Infanticide

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Ten Ways The Church Can Fight Abortion

Over the last 46 years, almost 60 million fellow citizens of our country have been silently destroyed. Recently, on the forty-sixth anniversary of Roe v. Wade in New York, Governor Cuomo celebrated the passage of the “Reproductive Health Act,” which removed restrictions on late-term abortion. Rhode Island and Vermont are considering similar measures and joining the nine states allowing third-trimester abortions up to the point of birth.

Under the disguise of “the right to choose,” a holocaust, genocide, and infanticide are quietly taking place in our midst, and the Church cannot be silent. In Watermark’s recent weekend message, Love is a Verb, we discussed that love speaks, even when it causes pain, so the defenseless can be saved, and those who are hurting can find healing and hope in Christ. Below are opportunities for you to partner with Watermark’s Life Initiative as we advocate for life, care for those facing an unplanned pregnancy, and bring the hope of the gospel to those affected by past abortions.

  1. Know the facts. Understand the hard truth of what abortion really is and see first-hand the ugly reality of abortive medical procedures here (warning: this content is difficult to watch).
  2. Prepare yourself to engage with others in a way that honors God and communicates His love for all people, in and outside the womb. Take a look at the following Real Truth. Real Quick episodes:
  3. Care for, disciple, and build relationships with those facing an unplanned pregnancy. To eradicate abortion, it must be easier for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy to walk into our community of faith than an abortion clinic. Pray for divine appointments and ask for God to sovereignly bring individuals across your path who need help in a crisis pregnancy.
  4. Be a Parent Coach: The Watermark Life Initiative Parent Support team has piloted a group to come alongside women and men with unexpected pregnancies. Be part of our upcoming training by emailing thelifeinitiative@watermark.org.
  5. Help Women and Men Heal from Past Abortions: Our After-Abortion Care ministry serves women and men with past abortions and provides mentors to re:generation participants who have been part of an abortion. Contact us.
  6. Join Your School District’s Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC): Every school district has a council of parents, students, teachers, and community organizations that determine the sex and health education curriculum used by educators. Contact your district’s school board for more information, and read more here.
  7. Contact Your Elected Officials: Encourage your elected officials to author, sponsor, or co-sponsor pro-life legislation abolishing abortion. Find out who your elected officials are and what bills have been filed each session here.
  8. Volunteer with Watermark Urgent Care: Every week four to six women with unexpected pregnancies come to the Watermark Urgent Care Clinic and find out they’re pregnant. Connect with the Clinic and be equipped to engage women with the gospel so that they can choose life for themselves and their child. Find out more.
  9. Serve with and support Prestonwood Pregnancy Center, Thrive or other nonprofit groups providing care and support to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
  10. Get equipped: Take advantage of the following training opportunities: Adoption & Foster Care Info Meeting – Sunday, March 31, register here­­­.

Our responsibility to end abortion goes well beyond simply voting for pro-life candidates or supporting organizations that care for these new mothers and fathers. As the Life Initiative at Watermark expands, consider how you can be informed and empowered to care for these women and men while upholding the right to life for every man and woman in the womb and out. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Start simply, and simply start.

This post came with help from Watermark’s Life Initiatives Director Bruce Kendrick.

What Is One of the Biggest Mistakes a Pastor Can Make?

What Is One of the Biggest Mistakes a Pastor Can Make? I answer that question on this episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

Show Notes:

Principles:
1. Pastors should remember the Church is not their Church, and they are under God’s leadership.
2. The Church is a gathering of people, not a place.
3. A false pastor is more concerned with growth in numbers rather than with the spiritual growth of their people.
4. Pastors who fail to call their people to live for Christ are not faithful pastors.

Scripture:
“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”
Acts 20:27

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

“…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

See Ezekiel 34

“Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.” Ezekiel 33:32

“So when it comes to pass- as surely it will -then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.” Ezekiel 33:33

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.” Hebrews 13:17

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ…” Ephesians 4:12

Other Resources:

Why Should Christians Serve?
What Does It Mean to Have Your Life Hidden With Christ in God?

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Why Should Christians Serve?

Why Should Christian Serve? I answer that question on this week’s episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

Show Notes:

Principles:

  1. Our service doesn’t save us.
  2. Christians suffer and serve others for others’ good as a way to show God’s care for the world.
  3. Christians serve to build up the body of Christ.
  4. Christians serve to further the gospel.
  5. Christians serve as they are conformed to the image of Christ.
  6. Christians serve because they love God, and it is a privilege to live for Him and His Kingdom because He died for them.

Scripture:
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Romans 8:29

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” Ephesians 4:11-12

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” Colossians 1:24

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Other Resources:

  1. How Do I Know If I Am Saved?
  2. What Is The Gospel?
  3. What Does It Mean To Have A Relationship With God?

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What Makes a Good Testimony?

What Makes a Good Testimony? I answer that question on this week’s episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

Show Notes:

Principles:

  1. A good testimony is one that is true.
  2. The most powerful testimony you have is the testimony of your life.
  3. A good testimony glorifies Jesus, not your sin.
  4. A good testimony describes the new life you have in Christ.
  5. A good testimony doesn’t deny or celebrate past sin.
  6. A good testimony makes the Gospel clear.
  7. A good testimony makes Jesus the hero and makes it clear that He saved you from an old way of life for a new life with Him.
  8. Some of the most powerful testimonies are of people that have walked in grace their entire lives.
  9. A good testimony is true, Christ-exalting, and shared.

Helpful Resources:

  1. What Does It Mean To Have A Relationship With God?
  2. What is The Gospel?
  3. How Do I Know If I Am Saved?
  4. Read stories of life change at watermark.org/stories

 

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What Are Altar Calls, and Are They Biblical?

What Are Altar Calls, and Are They Biblical? I answer that question on this week’s episode.

Show Notes:

Principles:

  1. Altar calls are not unbiblical, nor are they a required biblical act.
  2. Don’t measure the effectiveness of your preaching by the immediate emotional response of the people.
    • Matthew 13:5-6
    • Matthew 13:7,22
    • Matthew 4:18-19
    • Matthew 16:13-17
  3. If someone can convince you of something, somebody else can convince you differently.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:1-4
  4. Good preaching is faithful to the text and tells people the truth about who they are, who Jesus is, and the necessity to respond to Him.
    • Galatians 5:19-20
    • Galatians 5:22-23
    • Acts 2:36-38
    • Romans 10:9-10
    • John 16:8
  5. Pastors are called to make disciples who then identify with Christ through baptism, and to teach disciples everything that Jesus commanded.
  6. You aren’t saved because you come to an altar call, you are saved by a deep, heartfelt belief in who Jesus is and His provision for sin.

Helpful Resources:

1. Can I Lose My Salvation?
2. Can I Believe In Jesus and Not Be Saved?
3. How Do I Know If I am Saved?
4. (SERMON) Salvation

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