"As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men." - Acts 17:10-12
When I first came to believe and made Jesus Lord of my life, I read just about every book I could get my hands on. I could NOT read and learn enough about Jesus and why he had to die for me. It was like I was starving for information about God, about Jesus, and words were my food.
I began by reading The Bible of course, Duh. But I didn't stop there. Then came The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I took in all this knowledge and stored it in my heart and in my mind.
I also watched television shows about God - The Gospel of Judas (it's not in the Bible) on the History Channel. I watched Jimmy Swaggert, Joyce Meyer & Robert Schuller in that beautiful Crystal Cathedral. I started to watch a Joel Osteen sermon once but I had to change the channel. That guy just gave me the creeps!
And then there were the movies - The Passion of the Christ, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous, I watched them all. Even Flywheel! And, of course, Rob Bell's Nooma videos.
I took a class in Spiritual Formation at the ELCA Lutheran church I was attending. I went through Purpose Driven Youth Ministry training. All these things provided me with information in my new-found faith. But then something happened. I began . . . to question.
I wasn't questioning God or his Word, but I began to see things happening in the church that made me wonder. I would be reading about certain things in my Bible and they didn't seem to line up with what was happening in the church and in it's doctrine. I began to question . . . my church. I began to wonder what the truth was.
The turning point for me came in 2009 - The ELCA's decision to allow and actively encourage gay and lesbian pastors. (ELCA Social Statement on Sexuality). It is rather clear to me that God does not support this. It seemed like "man" (the ELCA) was trying to define God in terms of who THEY thought he should be, not embracing who he truly is. I took my concerns to the church council, hoping they would understand. I had verses to back me up and everything. They chose not to deviate from what the ELCA handed down, despite it being contrary to God's written word. So I left the church.
From that point on though, not wanting to be burned again, I began to examine everything that came my way. Each week, as I listened to the pastor of my new church preach, I examined everything he said and compared it to God's Word. I STILL do that. So far, I have not been disappointed.
A friend of mine suggested I listen to Stand Up For The Truth, a radio talk show out of Green Bay, WI. They have a bunch of pod casts you can download and listen to. They are an excellent source of truth and they always refer their listeners back to God's Word. GotQuestions.org is another good source it you ever have any questions.
Those people I mentioned earlier? They have all spoken words contrary to God's written word or they have Approach with caution. Rob Bell and Robert Schuller are both leaders of the Emergent Church. They question many of he Bibles teachings.
Rick Warren, "America's Pastor," is a seems to be a proponent of Chrislam - a blending of the Christian and Muslim faiths. Here is a link to a YouTube video where Pastor Warren prays in the name of "Isa" at President Obama's inauguration. Isa is merely a prophet in the Qur'an, not the Son of the living God. There are many other wolves in sheep's clothing out there . .. so Beware!
As a youth leader I have a tremendous responsibility as a teacher (James 3:1). I will be held responsible for any of those I lead astray because of my teaching. I will answer to God. I must be very discerning in what I say is truth because teens WILL remember what they have heard. God's Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
We ALL have a responsibility to our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He died for us. We owe Him our very lives. When we tell others about Him, let us make sure we tell them the truth. Refer to His Word. Read from the text. We are followers, not spin doctors. The minute we stray from what GOD says, and start "interpreting" for ourselves through the filter of what WE think, we sinning against God. By my count, we are breaking half of the ten commandments all at once!
Spread the Gospel. But spread THEE Gospel, not a man-made version of it. There is only one source of for truth and that is The Bible. Sola Scriptura baby!! By scripture alone!!
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." - Matthew 10:16