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Posts Tagged with "Ask Pastor Bill"

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Maybe you’re too busy because you’re proud

Last week we started talking about the danger of the busy lives that we are all living. We talked about how busyness saps our joy, attacks our heart, and can act as a facade to cover up the deep rooted problems that are in our souls. ...

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Why you need to be freed from your busyness.

Let’s face it. We are all too busy. Perhaps you are one of the few out there who have learned to balance their life, say no to distractions, and dial in on what you are supposed to be focusing on, but most of us have not....

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How to rest well.

I first knew that I was desperately in need of rest when I began to notice these trends in my life: I was eating more than I had in years, I would slip into the habit of pastoring everyone else over my family, and I would make people feel like they were a burden when they needed my help. Conquering these things is neither simple nor quick, but today I want to encourage you...

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Skeletons In Your Closet

Because we do not understand that all of our shame and disgrace can be removed in the gospel, we feel the need to protect our deep, dark secrets at any cost. This often results in rage and interpersonal conflict....

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Love your “enemies”

Christ Jesus died for sinners, enemies, and that includes you and me. ...

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You can’t forgive if you don’t understand forgiveness.

We refuse to forgive other people because we don’t understand the gravity of our own sin, don’t grasp the holiness of God, and don’t understand forgiveness ourselves....

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Why we need reconciliation to be unified

Our nation is divided across various segments politically, racially, economically, sexually, and more. Over the next few weeks, I want to try and provide a biblical framework for what is going on in our nation and try to shed some light on how these issues are primarily spiritual issues. Yes, we need secular solutions such as roundtable discussions, education, empowerment,...

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Why are we so divided?

Divisions - be they race, politics, economics, education or whatever - are complex and layered, but they are also simple, aren’t they? At the end of the day, what causes the divisions among us is that we want something (be it something physical, like food, or something more nebulous, like respect - neither of which are bad desires) and we don’t get it. We want it, but ...

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What would you do differently if you knew when you were going to die?

What would you do differently if you knew when you were going to die? What about me? What would I change tomorrow if I knew I only had 15 years left? Well, I’ve been chewing on this question for two weeks, and here are some of my thoughts....

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What are the signs of Jesus coming back?

What should we expect regarding the return of Jesus Christ?...

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How Can I Forgive?

How do I forgive someone who is not sorry -- and, in fact, may even despise me and take delight in harming me?...

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Why is context important when reading the Bible?

The following column is from one of Revolve Church’s elders, Breton Palmer, and addresses the question, “Why is context important when reading the Bible?” It was first published on the website Doctrine and Devotion. ...

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What’s so special about Easter?

Jesus’ life and death meant a whole lot more. After all, he wasn’t just a prophet or even just a man. Jesus is the GodMan - 100% God, 100% Man, 100% melt your brain if you think about it too hard. God didn’t want to just cancel the debt of sin, he wanted to do something even more miraculous - he wanted to crush death and conquer it once and for all. When Jesus rose f...

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Question about your prayer article from two weeks ago

In today's article, Pastor Bill responds to a reader's question about the article on prayer from two weeks ago titled "HOW DO I PRAY?"...

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Is the New Testament Historically Reliable?

How we can know that the New Testament is historically reliable and not just some made up document? We are not invited to ignorant faith, but to a faith that can stand against scrutiny....

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How do I pray?

In Matthew 6, Jesus' friends made a simple request, “Lord, teach us to pray!” They had been around Jesus long enough to know that he was a praying man. The scriptures frequently tell us that Jesus would get up early in the morning and retreat to places of solitude to pray. Jesus was always praying for people and with people. And when he prayed, heaven and earth seemed ...

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Health for Your Marriage: Be a Servant Lover

When it comes to sexual intercourse, most of the world is telling you that it is all about you. It’s about your pleasure, your satisfaction, your excitement, your fantasies and so on and so forth. Either blatantly or surreptitiously, the message of selfishness in sex is rampant. This type of selfish perspective towards sexual intercourse has dramatically impacted the way...

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Health for Your Marriage: Love and Respect

We are in the middle of a multi week series answering the question: “How can I find health in my marriage.” Last week we talked about creating margin in your life so that you actually can enjoy your spouse rather than simply run past your spouse while slapping five (or snapping at them). Today’s pointer: Learn to love and respect. In his book Love and Respect, Dr....

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Health for Your Marriage: Make space by saying no

We are in the middle of a multi week series answering the question: “How can I find health in my marriage.” Last week we talked about how the conflict in your marriage shouldn’t be about who wins, but about your growth. Today’s pointer: Make space by saying no. Unless you are the rare anomaly, you are surrounded by too much. I don’t just mean stuff (though tha...

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Health for Your Marriage: Fight to Grow, Not to Win

We are in the middle of a multi week series answering the question: “How can I find health in my marriage.” Last week we talked about learning to truly listen to what your spouse is saying to you. Today’s pointer: Fight to grow, not to win. We fight to win. Let’s be honest, you don’t fight to lose. Conflict isn’t enjoyable, and if you are the kind of pe...

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Health for Your Marriage: Learn to Listen

We are in the middle of a multi week series answering the question: “How can I find health in my marriage.” Last week we talked about loving God above all things and prioritizing your marriage around him. Today’s pointer: Learn to listen. We live in a time where it is more difficult than ever before to be mentally present even when we are physically present. ...

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Health for Your Marriage: Love God More

We are in the middle of a multi week series answering the question: “How can I find health in my marriage.” Last week we talked about changing your expectations. Today’s pointer: Love God more. After 13 years of marriage and 6 years of pastoral ministry, there is something that I have seen to be true 100% of the time. If my relationship with God is healthy, I l...

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Health for Your Marriage: Expectations

I have been asked the question, “Can you help my marriage,” or some version thereof more times than I would like to admit over the past few months. My heart has been very burdened by these questions, because I see marriage as an incredible gift from God. I do not think that Gina and I are unique or different. I do, however, know that we were equipped with some reliable...

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What has 2017 meant for me?

I wanted to start off 2018 with a personal year in review, answering the question, "What has 2017 meant for me?" Typically, I make a document for our people that explains our year at Revolve by the numbers. In this document, I share things like monies received, monies given, baptism, and quantifiable statistics. The problem, as I was trying to think about how to summarize...

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So you want to start reading the Bible…

This time of year I always get a few people who ask me about starting to read the Bible, where to begin, how to do it, and what they should do if they don't actually believe it anyway. If this describes you, you are in luck! Today I hope to provide a simple framework for reading the Scriptures as well as giving you a simple reading plan to get you started. Before we begin...

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What does Christmas teach us about our circumstances?

The Christmas season has a way of amplifying life. Money issues. Marriage problems. Employment woes. Interpersonal strife. Death. Loss. All of these very real problems somehow seem bigger during a season when "things are supposed to be joyful." Although Christmas is joyful because of what it represents in Jesus' birth, we often forget that he was born to die. Christmas is...

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Questions about Heaven

I just finished a series on a healthy church and I thought it would be an appropriate time to bring out a letter I received a month or two ago that was filled with some rapid fire questions about heaven. These questions are fairly brief to answer so I was hoping to crank them all out in one column. Enjoy! Question: I've never seen photos, movies, etc of our Lord smiling, ...

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What should define a healthy church? (Part 4: Connect with God’s Mission)

We are spending a few weeks answering the question, "What should define a healthy church?" Last week we talked about how our identity as human beings is found in community and how, as followers of Jesus, your identity is found in this new community that God is creating. This final week in our mini series, we want to talk about how a healthy church and a healthy follower o...

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What should define a healthy church? (Part 1)

Following up with last week's column concerning "why do churches die," I wanted to take a few weeks to talk about some broad characteristics that should define a healthy church. These characteristics are by no means exhaustive, but they are broad enough to define some core concepts without micromanaging the details or methodologies. In other words, I can't imagine how any...

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How should Christians react to previous church buildings being used for other purposes?

The First United Methodist Church of Goshen sat vacant and for sale for years. It was falling apart, desperate for work, and had no prospective buyers on the horizon. That is until Will Keenan purchased the property to renovate it and turn it into a "church for all religions," a sort of Areopagus (Acts 17) for Cape May County where people can share everything from poetry t...

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Is the Bible reliable?

"Is the Bible reliable?" The column will not be about trying to convince you to have faith in the book or believe the claims of the book necessarily, but to lay a foundation of why the Bible is a historically viable, reliable document. Today's column is a modified version of a previous Ask Pastor Bill for the Explore God series happening in the county right now at various ...

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Is Christianity Too Narrow?

Is Christianity too narrow? Every world religion has its own set of things that look weird or strange to people outside of the system. As a pastor, I often will have people express uncertainty at coming to visit our weekly gathering because they aren't sure "when to stand or sit" or what to wear. These types of ritualistic behaviors create an environment that seems to sug...

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Who is Jesus?

In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asked his followers, "Who do people say that I am?" After receiving their responses, which varied from reincarnated religious figures to the next great prophet, Jesus asked them directly, "Who do you say that I am?" The question still stands before us today: Who is Jesus? We know that Jesus really existed. The vast majority of scholars - secular a...

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How Good is Good Enough?

Since nobody's perfect, how good is good enough? Pretend for a moment that out of nowhere, a coconut fell from the sky, bonked you on the head and you get killed. Don't worry about where the coconut came from - humor me. When you open your eyes, you're standing before God and he simply says to you, "Do you think I should let you into my house?" Your response is quick and...

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Why Does a Good God Allow Pain and Suffering?

Why does a good God allow pain and suffering? Hurricanes, cancer, car accidents and untimely death. The world is a sad place. Nice, kind people die every time. Answering why this happens is, in many ways, the greatest hurdle for all religions. The question has plagued humanity for generations, with early writings from the the Ancient Near East (some of which you were prob...

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Does Life Have a Purpose?

Is there any meaning in life? Is there any purpose that outlasts death? Russian author, Leo Tolstoy had succeeded in all of the areas of life a person could desire. He had it all, so to say, but he wrote this: "My questionthat which at the age of fifty brought me to the verge of suicidewas the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man . . . a question without ...

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What is ‘Explore God’ and why should I care?

We all have questions. I do. Don't you? Exploration is at the core of the human condition. God is a creative God and as beings made in his likeness, we share in that personality trait. The wonder is that God even delegates creativity to us. He gave Adam authority to name animals, and we have been creating inventions, art and culture ever since. We are made to be curious,...

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Isn’t equality and submissiveness contradictory?

Following my column about how my worldview shapes my marriage, I received the following email, "I just finished reading your article in the Herald. Here are some quotes I found in the Bible on the subject. 1 Timothy 2:12 - I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. Titus 2:5 - Women must be discreet, chaste, home keepers, good, ob...

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Can you explain the Trinity?

One reader asked, "Can you explain the Trinity? What does it mean that the members of the Trinity submit to one another?" The trinity is one of those concepts that you hear Christians talk about, but the word is never actually used in the Bible. Just because the word trinity is never used, however, doesn't mean that the concept isn't real. The word dinosaur didn't exist u...

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How does my worldview shape how I parent?

The last few weeks, we have been analyzing worldviews. We have defined a worldview as your set of assumptions which impact the way that you view the very essential questions of life. What is real, is there a God, what are humans, how do we determine right and wrong, what happens when I die, and more. Think of a worldview as the glasses that you put on which determine the w...

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Should I marry someone with a different worldview?

The last few weeks, we have been analyzing worldviews. We have defined a worldview as your set of assumptions which impact the way that you view the very essential questions of life. What is real, is there a God, what are humans, how do we determine right and wrong, what happens when I die, and more. Think of a worldview as the glasses that you put on which determine the w...

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Is your Christian worldview cohesive?

Two weeks ago, we introduced the concept of a worldview, our set of assumptions about the way that the world works, explaining that all worldviews answer the following questions: What is reality? What is the nature of the world around us? What are humans? What happens at death? Why can we know anything? How do we determine right and wrong? What is the meaning of h...

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Is your worldview cohesive?

Last week, we introduced the concept of a worldview, our set of assumptions about the way that the world works. In my previous article, I suggested that the way in which you view the world can be broken down into about seven questions, and from these seven questions you wrestle through the big questions of life. These questions build, with each previous answer demanding a ...

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Were Neanderthals human?

One reader wrote in, "My niece recently came home from her first year of college. At our annual family celebration of Memorial Day in Cape May she did not eat any hamburgers or hot dogs, but instead brought veggie burgers. We got into a discussion about her new lifestyle. I was saying that it could not be wrong for us to eat meat because God gave us dominion over the earth...

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What is the significance of God giving mankind dominion over the earth?

One reader wrote in, "My niece recently came home from her first year of college. At our annual family celebration of Memorial Day in Cape May she did not eat any hamburgers or hot dogs, but instead brought veggie burgers. We got into a discussion about her new lifestyle. I was saying that it could not be wrong for us to eat meat because God gave us dominion over the earth...

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Is Reiki (energy healing) against God?

One reader asked, "Is Reiki (energy healing) against God and the teachings of the Bible?" True confession, I definitely had to look reiki up on google to even understand the question, and it took some research on my part to get a feeling for exactly what the teaching is and the philosophy behind the practice. First off, what is reiki? Here is an abbreviated explanation d...

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Can the Bible be trusted?

Today we want to continue talking about the Bible and answering the question, "Can the Bible be trusted as a historical document?" The column will not be about trying to convince you to have faith in the book or believe the claims of the book necessarily, but to lay a foundation of why the Bible is a historically viable document. First, a little bit about the Bible. The w...

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How important is the Bible to Christianity?

This past week, in various ways I was asked the question, "How important is the Bible to Christianity? If the Bible is lost, how much of Christianity is lost? If the Bible is untrue or found to be myth and fable, does it impact Christianity?" I would like to dedicate the next few weeks to discussing various aspects of this question. Simply answered, the importance of the ...

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What does it mean to long for God?

One reader asked, "What does it mean to long for God - what does this look like in my everyday life? Is it praying for His return? Is it the empty feeling that only feels full when I'm in the Word?" There are a plethora of different ways that I think you could answer this question, but what comes to mind immediately are the words of Jesus when he summarized the law of God...

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Why is it called Good Friday?

Recently someone asked, "Why is it called Good Friday?" As we talk about this question, my desire isn't to provide historical framework as to how the name Good Friday actually came about, but instead to explain what makes the day Jesus died a good day. The question is actually quite profound! With every other religious system in the world, the death of the leader would be...

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Is it biblical to pray to saints?

I received a commonly asked question recently, "Is it biblical to pray to saints, loved ones who have passed away, or anyone besides God?" I realize that this has the potential to be a volatile question. For one, the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is not that anyone should pray to Mary, a saint, or anyone else, but that you can ask Mary, a saint, or someon...

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What can Agnostics expect in the afterlife?

One reader asked: "Agnosticism is a doctrine that man cannot know about things beyond the realm of his experiences, in particular about God. It is a skeptical reservation of judgment in the absence of proof rather than an explicit rejection of any divine order. What do you have to say as to the afterlife of true agnostics? If you can give me your thoughts on this, without ...

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Do we need a higher fence or a bigger table?

February 5 to 12, I was in Budapest for a conference focused on refugee work. How I arrived there is a story in and of itself and one we don't have time for, but I was there with two other members of Revolve. We approached the week knowing that I was invited to teach a breakout session, but not really fully aware of what God wanted us to learn beyond that. Since we have r...

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What causes refugees in the first place?

February 5 to 12, I was in Budapest for a conference focused on refugee work. How I arrived there is a story in and of itself and one we don't have time for, but I was there with two other members of Revolve. We approached the week knowing that I was invited to teach a breakout session, but not really fully aware of what God wanted us to learn beyond that. Since we have r...

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What did I learn about refugees in Budapest?

February 5 to 12, I was in Budapest for a conference focused on refugee work. How I arrived there is a story in and of itself and one we don't have time for, but I was there with two other members of Revolve. We approached the week knowing that I was invited to teach a breakout session, but not really fully aware of what God wanted us to learn beyond that. Since we have r...

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Can a true Christian lose their salvation?

This week's column builds off of last week's question: "What is a Christian?" If you have not read that column, I would strongly encourage you to go here and do so as these are cumulative topics, building on one another. In light of last week's article, I have added the word true to the question: "Can a TRUE Christian lose their salvation?" When people ask me this questio...

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What is a Christian?

One reader asked, "Can a Christian lose their salvation?" If you have been exposed to the teachings of Christianity for any length of time, you might have learned that this question is divisive with different denominations landing on varying responses. As such, I know that not every pastor or Christian will agree with my response. That's okay - it's my column. :) In orde...

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What will we be like in the afterlife?

One reader asked, "What does the Bible teach about what we will be like in the afterlife?" We read this story in the gospel of Matthew as well as the gospel of Mark: The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying,'"Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and ...

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Why won’t God acknowledge our prayers?

One reader wrote, "I just lost my wife of 62 years and 134 days, and I'm devastated. I prayed and prayed for my wife, and the more I prayed the worse she got until she succumbed. My question is, Why doesn't God acknowledge our prayers? Not answer them - just acknowledge them." First, please let me begin by simply expressing my condolences. 62 plus years is a lifetime, and...

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What does the Bible say about all this anger and division?

One reader asked me, "I feel really frustrated with all the hatred and division that we are seeing across political party lines. I've lost patience with people who have no tolerance of anyone who disagrees with their opinions and now it is making me an angry person whenever I read the news. Do you have any advice on how to deal with all of this, besides burying my head in ...

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How do you balance faith and politics?

Towards the end of November, a reader asked, "How can/should one reconcile Christian faith with belonging to a political party (or even just patriotism)?" Being that the inauguration is just around the corner, it seemed a fitting time to respond. Before we begin discussing this topic, I think it is important to recognize that one's faith informs their political views, but...

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Can I worship at home alone?

In our previous column, we began responding to the questions, "Why Should I Go to Church? Can't I Just Worship in My Own Home Alone?" Previously, we addressed why followers of Jesus should gather together in the local church as opposed to simply staying in their house and watching a television preacher or reading their Bible alone. This week we will continue, specifically ...

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Why should I go to church? Can't I just worship in my own home alone?

One reader wrote, "Why should I go to church? Can't I just worship in my own home alone?" I would like to engage with this question over the next two weeks, addressing each question on its own. I think both of them deserve some time to clear up any misconceptions. Defined, the global church is everyone who is a follower of Jesus. The local church, on the other hand, is th...

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“How do you point someone to a God who wants to be king of every area of your life?”

Last week we discussed how to share about Jesus with gay friends. If you did not get a chance to read the column, I suggest you consider doing so since this is a follow up. The short answer to last week's question was that all people need to be rescued by God, not just some people, so you should treat a person who is gay the same way you should treat anyone else. The reali...

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Sharing about Jesus with Gay Friends

Today we deal with a potentially volatile question, but one that I hope we can answer with sensitivity and maturity. This week, I want to set a foundation and next week I want to follow up. "I am a follower of Jesus and I am writing you to figure out how would be the best way to minister to family, friends and co-workers who are homosexual. These wonderful people in my li...

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How do you bring up difficult in-law issues to your spouse without hurting their feelings?

In a follow up to last week's column on how to love your family well and still create healthy boundaries during the holidays, a reader wrote, "How do you bring up difficult in-law issues to your spouse without hurting their feelings?" My response will build on what I wrote last week, so if you have yet to read that column, please consider looking it up on the Herald's webs...

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How do you love difficult family members during the holidays?

Holidays can be very challenging. As comedian Jim Gaffigan jokes, since we eat a ton of food every day, Thanksgiving is only differentiated by eating a ton of food with people you can't stand. Hopefully that's not your situation, but I was not surprised to receive this question last week: How do you love difficult family members well during the holidays, while also setting...

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What if I don’t deserve to come back to God?

The other day, someone asked me, "I want to come back to God, but I have done some really bad things. What if I don't deserve to come back to God?" Religion propagates a lie: you come to God based upon your own merit. At face value, that might seem like a completely reasonable statement. After all, isn't that what most people believe? This is why people say things like, ...

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Why won’t God answer my prayers?

Over the past few weeks, I have received multiple questions that all circle around the same main theme. Although using different words, the essence of each question is this: "People tell me that I should worship Jesus and pray to him. I am doing that, but my prayers are not being answered. Am I doing something wrong? What is worship? What is prayer? What can I do in order ...

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What is Prayer?

Over the past month, I have received multiple questions that all circle around the same main theme. Although using different words, the essence of each question is this: "People tell me that I should worship Jesus and pray to him. I am doing that, but my prayers are not being answered. Am I doing something wrong? What is worship? What is prayer? What can I do in order to h...

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What can we learn from the 2016 Presidential election?

By the time this is published, we theoretically should know who our next president will be. Your candidate won, your candidate lost, you didn't vote, you wrote in Chuck Norris - regardless, as a nation we have a great deal to learn from the last 12 months. Never before has there been an election so filled with cringe-worthy rhetoric from almost every angle. How did we get ...

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What is Worship?

Over the past few weeks, I have received multiple questions that circle around the same main theme. Although using different words, the essence of each question is this: "People tell me that I should worship Jesus and pray to him. I am doing that, but my prayers are not being answered. Am I doing something wrong? What is worship? What is prayer? What can I do in order to h...

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Should a Protestant Convert to Catholicism?

One reader wrote, "What would you say to a Protestant who is thinking about become a Catholic?" I have known two people in my tenure who have converted, so to speak, from Protestant to Roman Catholic, and both did so because they wanted a more formal church experience with a more traditional structure. That being said, the difference between Protestants and Catholics is n...

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Is There an Afterlife?

Tom wrote, "How can we be sure there is an afterlife other than from biblical references?" Tom, thanks for the great question. I will do my best to respond to this with a thoughtful answer, but I want to undergird the reality that every worldview requires faith. Even atheism, which definitively states that there is absolutely no god, requires faith. Atheism assumes that, ...

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How do I draw closer to God when...

A reader from Lower writes, "My mother has pushed God on my brothers and I in an unhealthy way our entire lives. How do I suppress my resentment towards having religion and God pushed on me in a negative way yet still grow in my faith without doubting it from time to time? What's the best way to recapture my faith and know that God is with me?" In the last few years of pa...

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How do I honor a toxic parent?

Michelle from Middle writes, "I know that the Bible says that I am supposed to honor my mother and father, but how do I do this if one of my parents is toxic, emotionally unavailable and distant?" Before I begin and respond to this question, I want to make something clear. Honoring your parents is not synonymous with obeying your parents. Exodus 20:12 commands us to honor...

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Why did you start another church?

The last time I checked, there were over 200 churches in Cape May County. Why another one? Before I answer the question, let me explain that it wasn't because we thought every other church was wrong, it wasn't because we thought only we knew the truth, and it wasn't because I needed a job. The short answer is that we planted a church because we believed that it was what Go...

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Ask Pastor Bill

ASK PASTOR WHO? Before launching this column, I want to spend a few weeks introducing myself and what I hope to accomplish. After all, why should you care what my view is on anything? The vast majority of you have never heard of Revolve Church (www.revolvechurchnj.com), and even less of you know me personally. I am 35 years old and will be married for 12 years as of next...

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