What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 5 of 7

What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
Human identity and sexuality are very deeply intertwined subjects. In many ways, both our personhood and sexuality are enigmas—deeply mysterious subjects, and not nearly as simplistic as they are made to seem in culture and society.
Our identity is the core of our individualism and our personality. Our identity is the amalgamation of who God made us, who we think we are, and even who others think we are. From these, we form a self-concept, and from that springs our personality, image, reputation, and character.
The Bible says that God made us, mind, body, and spirit. And together, these form who we are. Then, as we figure out our identity, because we weren’t created to live alone in isolation, we soon migrate toward intimacy.
Intimacy has to do with knowing others and being known by others. It’s about sharing our own self-discovery, who we are, with others. And a possibility of this sharing is that, as intimacy grows, human sexuality enters into the picture.
Human sexuality is unique. It isn’t like evolutionists would have us believe—just another version of the biological propagation of an animal species. Unlike animals, human beings were created in the image of God. And as such, we aren’t only composed of chemicals and physical bodies (like mere plants and animals), we are created to reflect God’s glory through our bodies and our inner essence. That inner essence, our spiritual reality, and our minds, means we were endowed with capacities not found in any other life forms.
Human sexuality was created to involve not only our bodies and our senses—but also our souls… meaning our minds, our thoughts, our motivations, our emotions, our feelings, and even our imaginations. And human sexuality also involves our spirits—the deepest inward parts of us, our very essence, and our very lives—in other words, sexuality involves every part of us.
As people, identity, intimacy, and sexuality are related. Each affects the other. So understanding what God says about these three powerful concepts will help us become more healthy and happy—and misunderstanding them will make us less happy, healthy, whole, and holy. So it’s important to get them right by learning and doing what God says.



Upcoming Videos (Released Each Thursday Through June 8)


6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

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What Mature Christians Should Know (Podcast Episode 002)

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What should Christians know?  Click to discover the answer.


  • Is there a body of beliefs that represent what it means to be a Christian? 
  • Are there essential ideas that comprise a Christian way of thinking?
  • Is there such a thing as a biblical worldview?
  • Are there truths that, if known, could help us live with more certainty?
  • Should people expect to live their lives in spiritual confusion?

These are the types of questions answered in this podcast, Episode 002 – What Mature Christians Should Know.

Take the journey with Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, long-time pastor and professor, who explores the idea with you, to help equip you to grow in your faith.

 

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Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 4 of 7

Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?
The Bible is a written testament to God’s Story—to His Story, or History. The Bible is a It’s been said that the Bible is not a book humans could write if they would, and it’s not a book we would write if they could
The Bible has proven the test of time. In terms of its manuscripts and veracity or “proofs of trustworthiness,” it’s the most attested piece of ancient literature, bar none. There’s every reason to believe the Bible is the actual Word of God. In fact, the more you study “ABOUT” the book and study the book “itself,” the more convinced you become that it is, indeed, God’s revelation about Himself.
But people don’t read it or believe the Bible just because it’s old. We believe it because it’s true. And because it’s true, it’s reliable and trustworthy. It gives the greatest wisdom of the ages throughout its pages—as a collection of 66 divinely-inspired books that form the one and only source of God’s Authoritative Word to humanity: the Holy Bible.
And why have people throughout the ages come to believe in this ancient book? Fundamentally, because it has live-changing power.
In other words, BECAUSE IT IS the “Word of God,” it is true. And because it is true, it works. And God, mysteriously and supernaturally found a way to take eternal wisdom and existential truth, and then embed them within the written and spoken languages of all people groups in our world, through the words of the Holy Bible, as it is made available in languages around the world. And, somehow, supernaturally, God infused human language with divine power so that, when we read it OR even hear it, and apply it to our lives by doing what it says, the Bible proves it is true and the power of God is manifested.
The Bible. There’s no book like it. Anywhere. At any time. It’ll change your life. Get it, read it, and see for yourself.



Upcoming Videos (Released Each Thursday Through June 8)


5. What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Subscribe and Get It Delivered Automatically!

Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif

Is God Republican or Democrat? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


Is God Republican or Democrat?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 3 of 7

Is God Republican or Democrat?
When it comes to God, we have to think completely different than we typically do. God completely transcends political parties.
God is infinite and directs the affairs of men, so He is above politics. He is, after all, the King of Kings. He is not Republican. He is not Democrat. He is not a green Party Member, Libertarian, and certainly not Communist. But neither is He ‘Independent’ or completely neutral. After all, He DOES care about all issues ethical and moral, and politics affects those things—and politics affects the lives of every person in the world. So He cares and we should care about politics for those reasons.
But, though God isn’t Democrat or Republican, in some ways, He is more involved with Government than anyone. Even Jesus was called the King of the Jews, after all—and Jesus will ultimately be installed as the King of Kings over all the universe. And the Bible says that God will form a government, an eternal Kingdom—organized as a theocracy, in the future.
The Bible calls God the Governor, Ruler, and Judge of All. He has all power and “rules” from on high. And as the Governor and King, He does not categorically register with political parties, as humans might.
That doesn’t mean, however, that people have that luxury. Indeed, scripture makes it clear that God has made us citizens of two kingdoms—kingdom of earth and the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught us to be good citizens. And as good citizens, we have an obligation to be biblically-informed and active in bringing about good in civil society, which means at least some degree of political involvement (voting, caring about people and causes that are affected by politics).
As citizens of those two kingdoms, we owe everyone the debt of love, and to be good citizens by taking biblical positions on important issues. But even then, and even if we have loyalty to causes , political positions, or even political parties—those are ALWAYS, A-L-W-A-Y-S secondary to our faith and the Kingdom of God. Remember the words of Jude 3, that we should contend earnestly for the Kingdom of God, once for all delivered to the saints.



Upcoming Videos (Released Each Thursday Through June 8)


4. Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?
5. What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

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Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 2 of 7

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
This issue is called the Problem of Evil. And it’s fair to say that Christianity and the Bible must answer it… and it does. But so must every other faith. Human pain is universal. So Buddhism must answer this question. And Hinduism. And Islam. And all other religions.


Listen to My World Religions Podcast Series

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But if you ask the question, you may not like the answer you receive, and become an Agnostic or Atheist, then what? Then you get to answer the question yourself—because, if you reject faith, then your worldview has to stand on its own and answer these questions without God’s help.
Thankfully Christianity offers answers to the problem of evil.
The Bible teaches that bad things happen because the world and the people in it, are broken. People are capable of bad motives, bad actions, and bad consequences are often the result.
And there’s the rub—the fact that innocent people sometimes get hurt.
When God made the world, He gave people freedom. Freedom means genuine choices. And those choices may be good or bad. When people make bad decisions, there are consequences. And those consequences are indiscriminate—they hurt people who don’t deserve to be hurt.
And God hates that. It grieves God that people do evil things. But that is not only a natural consequence of freedom—but a necessary consequence. In other words, you can’t have genuine freedom without the necessity that people might choose evil, and its resultant consequences.
For Christians, we learn that IN SPITE OF evil, God has a plan for our good and will ultimately right every injustice we’re subjected to.
God is working out a master plan. It involves the interwoven lives of billions of people interacting in real time on earth, every one of them with complete free will. And as they use their free will, often wrongly, and as Satan orchestrates all kinds of evil in the world. But in the midst of all the apparent chaos, God brilliantly weaves both His global and individual plan for us. And that can take time—because of billions and billions of people doing almost whatever they want.
But God cares intimately about our pain. And ultimately—now or later, God WILL settle the score. He will outwit all the schemes and will untangle all the contradictions. And He promises in His Word that He will either make it up to us here on earth—OR, if we suffer unaddressed injustice, that He has all of eternity to make it up to us. Right now, we see through a glass dimly, but time and eternity will bring resolution, redemption, and reward. And our light and momentary afflictions here on earth are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed within us later on.


Upcoming Videos (Released Each Thursday Through June 8)


3. Is God Republican or Democrat?
4. Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?
5. What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Subscribe and Get It Delivered Automatically!

Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif

Is It OK TO Ask Hard Questions About Faith? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


Is It OK TO Ask Hard Questions About Faith?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 1 of 7

Is It OK TO Ask Hard Questions About Faith?
Life can be confusing. There are times that life doesn’t make sense. Even people who’ve walked with God for decades, people with a truly intimate spiritual relationship, confront situations and circumstances that plague them and that shake their faith down to its very foundations.
If that’s you— meaning, if YOU sometimes have questions, uncertainty, and even doubts, you’re normal.
What’s one good reason that it’s OK to ask hard questions? BECAUSE , in the Bible, we learn that both skeptics, and the greatest men and women in the history of faith asked really, really hard questions.
These include Pilate, Nicodemus, David, Mary, the Apostle Peter, Job, a Philippian jailer, and even Jesus Himself!
So I think it’s plain to see—not only is asking hard questions OK. When you do so, you’re in good company. People who ask hard questions show they’re seeking faith that is GENUINE.
So not only is it OK to ask hard questions… it’s necessary. We must. Not asking hard questions is a sign of cowardice. Not asking hard questions about your faith implies that it is flimsy, rather than indestructible.
Asking questions about faith doesn’t make you weak. It shows you’re strong.


Upcoming Videos (Released Each Thursday Through June 8)


2. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
3. Is God Republican or Democrat?
4. Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?
5. What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Subscribe and Get It Delivered Automatically!

Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif

"Can I Ask That?" Mini-Video Series Introduction

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Can I Ask That? Series

“Can I Ask That?”

Recently I was posed a handful of questions by a current Saddleback Pastor, Brandon Bathauer of Saddleback Church’s Irvine South and Great Park Campuses. He asked if I could give a one-minute response on 7 different questions about faith.
Here are the 7 questions in this series:
1. Is It OK to Ask Hard Questions About Faith?
2. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
3. Is God Republican or Democrat?
4. Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?
5. What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Follow Along Each Week for Another Installment of This 7 Part Video Series!


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Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif

Why You Should Be Informed

We live in the age of information.  Between 1750 and 1900, the total expanse of human knowledge had doubled .  At that time of pre-technology human history, it took 150 years.  Today, the growth of knowledge is occurring some 100 times faster.  It is said that the entire sum of all known information, i.e., human knowledge, doubles every 1.5 years.  By 2020 it is estimated that it will be doubling approximately every month and a half (72 days).  Think about that…

This Information Age is one in which the average illiterate person, one unable to read or write– but who can understand language and watch videos, can easily learn more about science than those towering figures of centuries past like Louis Pascal and Isaac Newton.  Another example: a 5 year old child holding a smart phone possess more technology than was required to send a man to the moon only 40+ years ago.
In a recent study by the University of California, San Diego, researchers found that we swim in a boundless sea of information, one in which the average person consumes 16 hard drives (3.6 zettabytes) of information every day– be it through TV, radio, the Internet/computer, reading, and other digital devices.  Ironically, with this enormous access to literally UNLIMITED data, one in which we can learn everything about everything, the average American is not very informed about the world in which we live.
Note that I’m not saying that Americans don’t know very much– because we do.  It’s just that the “average American” is simply uninformed to a large degree about the ultimate things that matter and that affect his or her life.  Whether this ignorance is apathy, indifference, or something else– I do not know, but it’s hard to believe such a high level of societal ignorance exists in this world awash in an infinity of information.
For example, while most people have instant recall on trivia like their friend’s speed dial numbers, their favorite TV shows’ times, nuances of their favorite wines, beers, coffee beans or marijuana strains (I live in California), most live without a working knowledge and, sometimes, only a vague familiarity about civics, economics, and politics– not to mention spiritual truth.
You might say– “Who really cares?”  It may seem that not knowing virtually ANYTHING about the stock market, the strength of US currency, trade deficits, political processes, the separation of power, representation and taxation, and things like that “makes no difference.”  Some think that ignorance is bliss because, they reason, we can’t do anything about it anyway.
Why should someone take the time and invest the energy to stay informed?  Especially in this Age of Information where it’s already impossible to keep up– it seems overkill and exhausting to even try.  So why worry about being informed?
My response is many-fold, but if I were to reply, I would give three primary answers.
1. Christians shouldn’t be ignorant about the world, because Jesus wasn’t.  For Christians, we should keep in mind that (of all people) Jesus himself had a working knowledge of those things, and he informed His disciples about them.  He spoke more about money than he did “heaven!”  In the gospels, Jesus shows familiarity with the Roman Empire and its government, the geo-political set up present in Judea and greater Jerusalem, and a deep familiarity with law, justice, economics, and even taxes.  If Jesus did that– and frequently taught his own disciples on issues of those sorts, it can be argued that we must do the same as Christians.
2. Being Uninformed Leaves You Open to Exploitation and Victimization.  Second, ignorance of the primary currents of our culture leaves us vulnerable to those things. Being unaware and disengaged of what is happening in any given area (say, government spending) is a sure-fire way for those who have authority in those areas to act with impunity.  An informed populace means that people can rise up and protest, shape public opinion (through free speech such as this blog), communicate with their senator, hold rallies, organize political movements, or a host of other things as a response.  If we are ignorant, we don’t respond because we are, well, ignorant.  We should keep in mind that an INFORMED MINORITY is always more powerful than an apathetic majority.  For example, in the former Soviet Union, only 24% of citizens were Communist, but they controlled approximately 1/5 of the world.  Informed minorities are always stronger than apathetic majorities.  What is funny is that some people say “I can’t do anything, so why bother?” I say that we can do more than we think– but even if that were true… even if we were powerless subjects being acted upon by the powers that be, at least by understanding what is going on we can play defense and perhaps be better off than if we didn’t.  Let me give an example.  If I were to be an 85 year old man and have to face a 23 year old Mike Tyson in a boxing ring– I may not be capable of successfully fighting him, but the fact that I couldn’t win by playing offense doesn’t mean that I would lower my arms and take a merciless beating… instead, I would AT LEAST put up my gloves and pull in my elbows and try to protect my vital organs and my face, head, and chest.  Then, even if I didn’t WIN, I might at least survive.  Similarly, when we don’t know much about our world, we are defenseless because of our indifference.
3. Be Informed Because You Are Greatly Affected By These Forces, Simply Because You Are a Living Citizen. Third, we need to be informed about the world– because we are citizens in that world.  It is where we live.  It is where we exist.  The condition of the world affects our lives.  The things happening in our world affect our families.  These things affect our children’s children and loved ones, friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors. And when I say that these things (civics, politics, economics, and so on) affect our lives– I mean that decisions made by people having authority who are not held accountable by informed, thoughtful, engaged people, affect you nearly every moment of the day.  So while we live in an apathetic state being brainwashed by time-wasting novelties, decisions and actions in the stock market, bond market, futures, congress, judiciary, by the President, governmental agencies creating regulations, and on and on and on– while those things are going on, together they affect EVERYTHING in life: gas taxes raise your gas prices, Standard & Poor’s downgrade makes loans for a car or school harder to get or to pay, new regulations on coal means higher prices for air conditioning at home, OPEC trade imbalances means it costs more for trucks to bring products to your favorite stores, raising the price of Mac & Cheese– do you see what I mean? All of that to say that being uninformed doesn’t make you invulnerable to these bad things– it makes you and your family and everyone you care about MORE vulnerable and, yes, victims.
Truth: Being Uninformed Always Makes Us Gullible. 
The irony of being a victim, however, is that those who are both victims and who are uniformed OFTEN (almost always) blame the wrong people for their problems.  Instead of kicking themselves for being willfully ignorant– and instead of holding the right people accountable– those who actually caused the problems– their ignorance typically makes them unable to discern what actually happened.  When this happens, we become gullible.  That gullibility makes us vulnerable to slick slogans and simplistic explanations, where we are more likely to believe someone because they speak with passion or eloquence, and we begin to believe certain things because the person is “speaking loudly” or pounding his or her fist.  Gullible people are defenseless to these things because they are ignorant– and since they don’t know the facts, they fall for rhetoric and emotion instead of believing things because they are actually TRUE.  Does that make sense?
The Challenge: How to Become Informed

We all have areas of ignorance– I know I do.  But the key is to do something rather than nothing.  My advice to those who feel unable to discern what is happening in our world and who are at a loss to understand what to do is this:

  1. Read God’s Word and ask for Wisdom (James 1:5)
  2. Reserve judgment, avoid giving opinions, and stop yourself from assigning blame until you know what you’re talking about
  3. Begin to be informed by trustworthy sources (people and institutions who, by having a long track record of being fair and informed, have earned and kept your trust
  4. Build your knowledge solidly in a number of areas, as they are all interconnected (the areas all influence one another)
  5. Check your thinking against others of like-mind and who disagree, then reassess your thinking
  6. Be sure to evaluate ideas based on their underlying assumptions (the basic commitments and beliefs that led them to reason a certain way and come to certain conclusions), then evaluate whether your assumptions about things are correct or need adjusting
  7. Test your ideas with both scripture (does it agree with God’s Word/truth) and reality itself (if it doesn’t work in real life, there’s something wrong with what you’re thinking)
  8. Be slow to come to final conclusions prematurely.  But when you know that you have finally discovered what is true, become unshakeable in your convictions.