How is our Theology? The Results are in

Ligonier Ministries is “committed to faithfully presenting the unvarnished truth of Scripture to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness.” Anecdotal evidence has shown an increasing lack of theological understanding in America, both outside and inside the church. Ligonier Ministries wanted to understand with accuracy the extent of the need to improve that understanding.

Ligonier Ministries commissioned a research study by LifeWay Research to measure the theological awareness of adult Americans. Ligonier Ministries identified specific doctrines and heresies that they wanted to test. LifeWay Research helped refine these questions and to conduct a survey of 3,000 Americans.

Questions focused on seven key doctrinal areas and included a number of specific areas where Americans differ from historic and orthodox views.

View the infographic, listen to Dr. R.C. Sproul discuss these findings on Renewing Your Mind, or download the official white paper and survey with key findings.

On Prayer

My blog leans in the direction of the subject prayer and one of the questions deals with prayer, so …

“God continues to answer specific prayers”

Agree Strongly:  38%

Agree Somewhat: 29%

Disagree Somewhat: 11%

Disagree Strongly: 10%

Not Sure: 13%

I think that this is a legitimate question. What answer do you fall under?  Check out my teaching novels on the subject of prayer. You can read sample chapters, just click on the links on the side menu.  In my book, A Reasons to Pray at Mountainview, this subject is handled along with 4 other reasons to pray. The second novel–The Place of Prayer, is much larger and covers the subject of prayer from a practical or “How To” perspective. The book uses Jesus’ teaching on prayer from The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter six.  If you’d like to learn more about prayer, my bias opinion recommends picking these two books.

Here is a review of my novel,  A Reason to Pray at Mountainview, by Calvin Yarbrough that is posted on Amazon.

I am a Youth Minister, Mentor, and Motivational Speaker. Having worked with youth in these capacities for over 20 years, I wanted to see if this book would be another tool to aid me in reaching our young people. After having read it, I give it a resounding “YES!!”. The writing style flows easily and the story line is compelling. The Scriptures used are strategically sown throughout the story and all are rock solid. Jeff did an excellent job of utilizing “storytelling” to share God’s word in teaching us how to, and why, we should pray.


I have Decided to Follow Jesus … Because …

Last Sunday during worship we sang the classic hymn–I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, and it sparked a conversation between my wife and me about how we are able to follow Jesus. The song is a great declaration of committment. The story behind the song grabs your soul and holds it. Yet, to those who do not know the love of Jesus, who do not understand the Gospel, they may see this song as s a silly, trite Christian tune lacking depth and reasoning with the sole purpose of stirring emotions. To the unbelieving world the depth of this confession of committment is similar to choosing to follow a sport’s team. Meaning, it is just a personal choice that I’ve made at the moment. Honestly, I don’t expect anything different, after all it is only because of the Spirit of God that I want to follow Jesus. Without the Spirit of Christ within, this would be nonsense.

Those who know their Savior and know the Scriptures, this declaration to follow Jesus Christ is a work that was begun in them by the One whom they follow. They declare and follow because He started it all. He has effectually called each of us, and we have responded. As Romans 9 rhetorically asks, Who can resist His will?

The peace and joy that comes from knowing that the work of redemption is within me, within each child of God, originates from God. His work of salvation begins with Him and He has promised to complete the work within me.

Philippians 1:6  being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Recognizing that God is First–the Great Initiator:

Because He chose me, I chose Him.

Because He called me with an effectual call, I responded and follow Him.

Because He gave me faith  to believe, I believe.

Because He humbled me and showed me my sin in light of His holiness and His Law, I was given a sorrowful soul and repented.

Because He drew me to Himself by His Spirit, I turned to Him.

Because He opened my eyes, I see Him.

Because He forgave me even before I wanted to be forgiven, I am forgiven.

Because He loved me, even though I did not love Him, I am able to love Him.

Romans 5:6-11  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Thank You, God. Forever I will offer praise. Amen.

A Reason for Hunger

An odd title that I presume has caught someone’s attention. There are viable reasons for hunger.

  • Hunger tells us that we are in need.
  • Hunger directs us to be satisfied.

Think of hunger as your gas gauge reminding you that you need refueling and if you don’t eat you’ll become weak and …

Think of hunger as a reminder that you are not self-sufficient; that you are mortal, finite, and dependent. Hunger is a humbling tool. It reminds us that we’re not gods. We cannot self-generate fuel for ourselves. The hunger can only be satisfied outside of ourselves.

Am I writing about physical or spiritual hunger?

We will not find spiritual satisfaction and contentment looking inwards. It’s not there. We are creatures who need our Creator to fulfill us, to satisfy us, to make us whole. A person is complete in Christ, nowhere else.

Two Thoughts about Hunger:

1. If you have a hunger for the spiritual, for the Holy, please be absolutely sure that you are seeking and partaking of the right food. There is a lot of junk food out there claiming to have the daily nutrition that you need. There are many voices telling you that they have the truth. We need help to know what is good, right, healthy – the truth.

Advice: Educate yourself in sound biblical theology. Read from various sources. Kool-aid drinkers are either afraid of tasting something else or they are too stubborn/prideful to admit that there is knowledge outside of their kool-aid well.

2. If you do not have a hunger for something greater than yourself, that’s not a good thing. You’re not that special. Life isn’t all about you. Man does not live on bread, pizza, hamburgers, or yogurt … or self alone. We need more and what we need is more important that physical food. What advantage is there to be satisfied in this life and be found wanting when you step out of it? You need spiritual food. It begins with realizing your need, that you are spiritual impoverished – Matthew 5:3, and then admitting your condition and need–Matthew 5:4.

Advice:  Pray to the Lord God to give you a hunger for Him. Tell Him that you want to hunger and thirst for the eternal, for His kingdom, and for truth that is found in Christ Jesus. This prayer doesn’t require a feeling, just an effort. This is acting on the Scripture, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).”  Jesus promised: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).” God can give you a desire for Him and to seek Him.

Lamentations 3:25 (NCV) — 25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 (NCV) — 6 Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him.

Are you hungry?  If not, seek to be hungry for the eternal, for the truth, and for the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Healing for a Broken Spirit

The following quote is from my novel “A Reason to Pray at Mountainview“:

He [Mark Torrell] had dozed off in the chapel praying for his family and to ask God … again … for forgiveness, something that he has never been able to accept from God. And again he found that neither medication, sleep, nor a religious setting was strong enough to quiet his soul and to remove the shame that kept him enslaved to his past sins.

“I guess it’s only right that God wouldn’t hear me, and I guess that it would only be right to let me die. I know that I deserve to, I just hope …”

Common Struggles

I’m sure that all of us can relate to Mark Torrell, in that he had more than one crisis hit him at the same time. We may differ in our situations, but we all know that life doesn’t pull any punches. Mark’s punches were coming at him faster and harder, and his spirit was getting weaker with each punch. The hardest punches were leaving him beat up and broken. They were guilt, shame, and regret. These three were leaving him flat on the mat, deterring him from praying and discouraging him from believing. The longer he was kept down, the more fear and hopelessness were taking their toll on of his life.

For Mark, his weak spirit was rooted in his past. It was a past that continued to work against him to keep him from finding the peace of God’s presence and from holding on to God’s promises. Yet Mark is not an isolated prisoner to the past. Is there anyone who has not found themselves confronted with a past that tries to condemn and even break them? Perhaps you, or someone you know, has a past that is haunting you and deterring you from living in the joy and peace of Christ. The effects of a broken spirit reach further into our lives than we would ever expect. When a person begins sliding downward, it becomes more and more difficult to stop and turn around. If we don’t learn to address our past, we may find ourselves more like Mark.

Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV) — The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?

John Piper, addressing Proverbs 18:14:

“…if the spirit is broken, if our hearts are downcast, if our soul is flat like a deflated beach ball, what can you do? The very will is broken; the flags of our affection just hang there with no wind to unfurl them.”

This quote reminds us of a dire need that is often neglected, which is the care of our spiritual health. A strong spirit gives hope and encouragement; it sustains us through life’s struggles, and is able to find traction to walk with the Lord. John Piper went on to say:

“If our hearts are strong in the Lord, if our soul is refreshed, we can endure the pain of the body.”

Finding Healing for a Broken Spirit

“The Gospel is the difference-maker, all the difference in heaven and earth.” (From “A Reason to Pray at Mountainview“)

Jesus delights in healing broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. God is glorified in healing brokenness. That is what He does. Who else can? Drugs? Therapy? An adrenalin rush? Entertainment? Only the Maker of the spirit can heal a broken spirit. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings healing, peace, cleansing, love, and forgiving. The Gospel is what the human heart needs.

Psalm 147:3  (NKJV) He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Charles Spurgeon encourages:

His deep sympathy with mourners is a special mark of his goodness. Few will associate with the despondent, but Jehovah chooses their company, and abides with them till he has healed them by his comforts. He deigns to handle and heal broken hearts: he himself lays on the ointment of grace, and the soft bandages of love, and thus binds up the bleeding wounds of those convinced of sin. This is compassion like a God. Well may those praise him to whom he has acted so gracious a part. The Lord is always healing and binding: this is no new work to him, he has done it of old; and it is not a thing of the past of which he is now weary, for he is still healing and still binding, as the original hath it. Come, broken hearts, come to the Physician who never fails to heal: uncover your wounds to him who so tenderly binds them up! (Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). The treasury of David: Psalms 120-150 (Vol. 6, p. 415). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)

Jesus said,

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

The Psalmist, David, knew where to run when overwhelmed and broken.

Psalm 61:1–2 — Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

It all goes back to the One who offers eternal life and liberty–Jesus Christ.