Monday, August 31, 2015

Fall 2015 Ministry Update

Dear Church, Family & Friends!
God has recently opened up some awesome new doors of ministry for us, and we’re excited to share what He’s doing. All of you know I'm long-winded so please be patient. Allow me to give a little background history first.

A little History
When we moved out here from Las Vegas in Fall of 2010 we came with the intentions of planting a church. We failed. Plain and simple. I now have in my possession a “Failed Church Planter’s Club” T-Shirt with all the stink and blood stains. Just kidding. Now that some time has gone by since then I’m able to look upon that failure with less embarrassment and shame and more wisdom. I’m thankful that I was able to try something for God and fail and learn some lessons than to never have tried at all. As individuals and as a family we have learned some wonderful lessons about the faithfulness of God to work all things together for good to those who love Him, and to always lead us in triumph in Christ Jesus.

Over the past 5 years God has done many things to establish us in the community of Raleigh and the Body of Christ here. God has given me a great job working for a local air conditioning company and Angela has been able to stay home with the boys. We have been attending a small Christian church here in the area and both Angela and I have been personally discipled by the pastor, elders and their wives. A failed church plant can leave you a wounded soldier and I thank God for the healing and grace of His precious people. Last year we purchased a home here in Garner, NC. And over the past 5 years I have been actively sharing the Gospel at the college, downtown and throughout the community. We are planted, we have roots, and by God’s grace we are growing and bearing some fruit.

When we moved out here from Las Vegas to plant a church we had many generous financial supporters from Las Vegas who were investing in God’s kingdom through our lives. Because the “church plant” was not taking off as we had hoped we decided to take ALL the financial support and put it into a “Ministry Savings Account.” We continued to save and add to that account over the past 5 years having faith that one day God would bring us to a place where we could serve Him full time and invest the support of His people wisely. That time has arrived, praise God!

Present Day
Over the past year, through the local church leadership, Body of Christ, financial provision, family support, a renewed sense of calling and passion, and countless other confirmations God has released us to serve Him as full-time missionaries specifically in the area of evangelism. To many of you it is no surprise that what God has called me to do is what He has always had me doing: preach the Gospel, preach the Gospel and preach the Gospel.

This past Spring I put out some “feelers” to see if God was really beginning to move me into this area full-time. Whether it was open air preaching of the Gospel on college campuses and answering questions and objections from students, or preaching downtown in front of the courthouse, or pleading with people outside of the abortion clinic, or encouraging our local church and other churches in evangelism and leading teams downtown on the weekends to share Christ, God was in it all! There was no question in my mind or the minds of my wife and other godly leaders in the church that this is what God was calling me to do. Now it was all a question of “God’s timing.”

As the summer was drawing near I began to sense a renewed urgency for publically proclaiming Jesus Christ and the Gospel. I imagined myself in heaven one day surrounded by saints from all ages asking me, “So, where did God have you live on earth, where were you born, what nation, what time, what generation???” My answer, “Well, I was born in America, from 1976 till 2015…” And then the saints pause with shock and reply, “What?! Did you say, “America!” Wow! Awesome! Wait! Did you say 1976 to 2015?! That was back when you guys had freedom of speech wasn’t it! I bet you were out sharing the Gospel all the time everywhere weren’t you?!” And then that’s when I pause with shock and reply, “Well, um…uh….well, kinda.” And that’s when their excitement turns to concern and they say, “What do you mean, “Well…um…uh…kinda? Don’t you know that freedom of speech was gone in 2017 or 2019…? What were you doing all that time?” And my sad response would be, “Well, we were very busy, very busy with all kinds of things.” Friends, I don’t want to have regrets when I get to heaven, and God in His mercy has providentially had me born in a country where I can freely proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ with little or no persecution. I really have no idea how long we’ll have the freedom of speech to speak about Jesus publically, but I don’t want to miss out on such a wonderful opportunity. No doubt those saints who live in so called “closed countries” where Christians are tortured and martyred just for speaking up about Jesus would give anything to be able to preach Christ openly here without persecution. These are urgent and wonderful times we live in. So after seeking God at the beginning of this summer I decided to give my boss a 2 month’s notice of my last day and take the entire “Ministry Savings Account” and invest it into the next 3 months through publically proclaiming the Gospel. If it is God’s will for me to continue beyond the next 3 months preaching the Gospel and equipping the saints then He will provide financially. God has blessed me with the ability to fix an air conditioner if needed, but God has called me to preach the Gospel.

The Mission
This summer I believe that God gave me a 3 fold mission and I am passionate about it. The Mission is:

1- Preaching the Gospel Publically with courage, compassion and clarity.
Courage: I find that biblical, loving on-fire public preaching of the Gospel has the power to impart courage into the hearts of the hearers. Often times I see on campus weary, discouraged, beaten down Christians students traveling from one class to the other and whenever they hear the passionate preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ their heads are lifted, they’re refreshed, revived, and receive a renewed sense of mission for ministering to their fellow students. Often times it is the college campus open air preacher that draws a crowd for the on campus Christians to minister to and disciple. Courage is contagious! It is something the first century Christians had, something Christ gives and something we all need.

Compassion: The public street preacher and campus open air preaching ministry unfortunately has the stigma and bad reputation of being a bunch of angry preachers who feel it’s their calling to tell everyone that God hates them. This “God Hates You” angry preacher image over the past 50 years has high-jacked the biblical, Christ-like calling and ministry of public preaching so much so that the Church as a whole is embarrassed to even associate with those who might do it well. Whenever people find out I’m an open air preacher I recognize I’ve already got 10 strikes against me before I ever open my mouth. I know that we’re a dying breed, hated by the world, killed off by the church, but we’re still loved by God, and we’re an essential part of the Body of Christ. Whenever we find bad teachers, pastors or worship leaders we don’t just eliminate the ministry all together. No! Instead we should be raising up great teachers, well trained pastors and awesome worship leaders. This is exactly what we must do with the open air preaching part of the Body of Christ. We can’t just amputate it and say, “You’re not part of the Body because you don’t look like me or do it my way!”  We should strengthen, heal and restore the ministry of open air preaching and make it a strong and vital part of the Church just as God intended. For this to happen we need preachers with broken hearts of compassion, not hardened hearts of hate. Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion, not aggression, because He saw them as sheep without a Shepherd. Public preaching must be driven by the compassion and love of God to reach people and rescue them from hell. Compassion is also contagious!

Clarity: I believe that in the Bible the Main things are the Plain things, and the Plain things are the Main things. Everything in the Bible is important, but not everything in the Bible is equally applicable. It is my goal to be faithful to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the historical Christian faith with clarity. When it comes to publically preaching the Gospel it is no time to get distracted by side issues, pet doctrines or in-house Christian debates regarding other things. Those are great topics for coffee talks and follow up discussions, but my 1st Mission is to preach the Gospel and by the grace of God remove obstacles to faith in the Gospel. In summary, “Christ died for your sins and rose from the grave. Trust in Him and you shall be saved!” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God to salvation for all who believe, not my particular “brand” of Christianity. This simplicity can be very refreshing to some and very offensive to others, but my goal is to always bring it back to the Gospel of Jesus and a person’s relationship to Him.

2- Partnering with the local Church to receive believers and unbelievers.
A direct fruit of publically preaching the Gospel is that believers who are not plugged into a local church feel challenged to grow in their relationship with God and be part of a church. Also I have found that interested unbelievers need somewhere they can go to continue their journey and experience the community of God’s people. My passion is to partner with local Christ-centered churches, creating a “Halo” of churches around the Raleigh area that I can recommend to people. I want to be a resource on the streets God can use to help individuals become discipled and grow in the context of God’s family. Also, on college campuses I desire to partner with campus ministries to help facilitate follow-up with those whom God touches through the campus preaching ministry. As a guest on campus I realize that it is the college student ministries that do the heavy lifting when it comes to discipleship and follow up. I want to partner with them in good relationship to create a united front for expanding the kingdom of God on campus.

3- Preparing Christians to share and defend their faith
Equipping the saints for the work of ministry is a responsibility of an evangelist, pastor and teacher. Beginning in my home church I want God to use me to encourage, equip and empower Christians to overcome the fear factor of sharing their faith and become active soul-winners for Christ. Many of us have heard great teaching on evangelism, but how many of us have actually been “trained” and taken out onto the Battlefield to experience the Lord use us to win others to Himself in fresh and exciting ways? It is this “training” rather than just teaching that I have found is the most effective way to energize and equip disciples to boldly share Christ not just on the streets, but at work, class, with friends and family. I’m convinced that when Jesus said “Go!” He knew that would make us grow. I will be prayerfully seeking God as to how I can best serve my home church and the local churches in Raleigh by training and equipping Christians of all types to actively share Christ. I long to see God raise up a new generation of on-fire soldiers for Christ, who are not just unashamed of the Gospel, but able to present it and defend it with great courage, compassion and clarity.

Well, there you have it. Preach the Gospel, Partner with the Local Church and Prepare Christians to share and defend their Faith. Is this something new and revolutionary? Nope. This is the same old thing Jesus has been doing in His Church since the very beginning. I’m just thankful to be a part of it, have a calling to it, and a passion for it. I can honestly say that this is truly my heart’s desire and dream. “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” -Psalm 37:4

Going Full-Time
After presenting this vision and mission to my pastor and the elders of my home church they were overwhelmingly supportive and encouraging. They have prayerfully committed to providing me with accountability on all levels: Spiritual, Marital, Family, Financial, Personal, and Ministerial. My home Church, “Garner Christian Fellowship” has offered to take me on as a “local missionary evangelist” and receive tax deductable donations for the ministry. I am so grateful for our local church, and I’m convinced now, more than ever that the local church is the best place to conceive a ministry, nurture it in the womb of the local Body of Christ, and if God wills for it to grow and become its own independent ministry identity then it can be birthed into the world with love and support and accountability. Should the ministry fail to grow and “miscarry”, I’m also convinced that a good local church is still the safest place to fail, heal and get back up pursuing God with your gifts and life. Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus and works all things together for good to those who love Him!

So, this Fall and Winter here is an idea of what I’ll be doing:
I’ll be preaching, passing out tracts, talking one on one with people weekly at UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Downtown and at various local events here in Raleigh. I will be meeting with college students personally for follow-up discipleship and also mentoring other preachers in open air preaching and evangelism. I will be outside the abortion clinics some mornings pleading with those who are about to abort their children, offering hope for them and their child as well as training other believers in how they can minister at the abortion clinics. Friday nights I will be training a group of youth in evangelism and taking them to the streets that night. I will be taking my family downtown to pass out tracts and minister to people at the bus stop and local park. I will be networking with local churches in Raleigh and college campus ministries to help facilitate follow up for those God touches through the evangelism ministries. I will be actively connected and serving in my home church as needs arise. Basically, I’m doing missionary work in America, and I love it!

The End
That’s it. That’s the end. So now’s the time where I ask you if you want to partner with us financially, right? Nope. Now is when I beg you to keep us in prayer, that God would move through the public proclamation of the Gospel, that people would get saved, that Christians would be encouraged and trained, that babies would be saved from abortion, that God would raise up new laborers for the harvest fields of souls and babies, and that God would continue to make a way for us to boldly preach Christ while “freedom of speech” is a present reality and not a fading memory! Please pray for us!

If you want me to include you in my “preaching prayer team” text, please text me @ 17022752817 and I will text you before a preaching ministry begins. I personally experience and see the power of those prayers!
You can also email me at:

Eventually we hope to have a website for the ministry, but until then I will continue to provide more ministry updates and encouragements through our current family blog @ and Google+. We’ll start there and see what happens. I’m also hoping Angela will post a few blogs about how God continues to use her.

If you do want to help support financially, you can give a tax deductable donation to the ministry through our local church here in Garner.

Make Check out to:
Garner Christian Fellowship
P.O. Box 744
Garner, NC 27529

You can place a piece of paper in the envelope with our name on it, “The Stephens Family”, or you can write “Evangelism/Outreach” in the memo section of the check. All the money is guaranteed to go directly to this ministry, and the church will provide you with the tax receipt at the end of the year. They’ll let us know who gives so we can get you a “Thank You card.” We greatly appreciate any donation and prayer!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask our local church and its leadership about us you can email them at:

Thanks again for taking the time to read this. We would not be able to take this step of faith without the loving support of our friends, family and the Body of Christ! God is good!

Living in Time, For Eternity!

The Stephens Family

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pictures of the Boys from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014

Every boy's gotta make his own volcano...
And yes, we put fireworks in it and blew it up.

This little guy's gonna stick around.

Takin a bath for Jonny is like water off a duck's back.

Morning person vs. not a morning person. Can you relate?

Our very own little web slinger.

We've got a real Spidey fan here.

"Everyone stand back! I've got a real toy sword and I'm not afraid to swing it around."

"Mom, I'm ready to go play."

We had a great snow this past winter!

The only way to make sure Jonathan keeps up.

Moms. So good at bundling up their kiddos.

James and the Giant Snowman.

Dude. We had a blast!!!

Hiking in the Spring.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bible Interpretation- The Flow of Thought

To understand the Bible correctly we must realize that the “meaning” of a passage flows from the larger groups to the smaller groups, from the larger context to the smaller specifics. And so, if you’re reading a Bible verse and a certain word doesn't make sense then you need to understand that word in light of the verse and the surrounding verses. And if a certain verse doesn't seem to make sense then you need to read the whole paragraph and context of the passage. If you read the entire context of a passage you are likely to discover the “flow of thought” being developed by the author. By understanding the flow of thought you should be able to figure out what certain verses and words mean.
The “flow of thought” has priority over the fine details. If your understanding of the details does not support the whole flow of thought of a particular passage then you are misunderstanding the meaning and the reason for the specific details. The details of a passage are there to point to the flow of thought not take away from it. The details color the main point, they don't change it.
Through carefully reading a passage and outlining the "flow of thought" you will find that all kinds of problems or difficulties begin to disappear. You must correctly understand the whole context if you are to correctly understand a verse, word or thought.
And remember, just because someone can quote the Bible correctly does not mean they are going to interpret or apply it correctly. The devil quoted the Bible to Jesus perfectly in Luke chapter 4. But he misinterpreted and misapplied the very passages he quoted. And if we're not careful, we too can be deceived or deceive others by taking a cavalier approach to interpreting the Bible.
So, the next time you read your Bible and you get confused about a certain word or verse or passage, just take a moment to read and consider the entire context and the "flow of thought" being developed by the author in a book, chapter or paragraph. Always interpret the verse or word in light of the larger context. And never interpret or reinterpret the larger context and flow of thought within a passage by a single verse or word.  We should be careful to allow the Bible to explain itself to us. And it will if we pay attention to the flow of thought.

May God continue to bless your understanding of Him, yourself and others as you faithfully study His word!

"The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." Psalm 119:130

Below are some links to a few other related blogs I've written:

Developing a Better Biblical Interpretation

Do you take the Bible literally?

F.A.C.E.S.M.A.P. "Evidence the Bible is Trustworthy"

The Dishonest Skeptic

The Gospel

Monday, February 10, 2014

Developing better Biblical Interpretation

No one starts out a skilled and mature interpreter of the Bible just like no one starts out a great driver, or cook or skilled craftsman. Skill is developed over time and practice. Even so, a person grows in being better at interpreting the Bible. If they mature, they'll approach interpreting the Bible more contextually and seriously. They will be less likely to throw verses around flippantly or apply a personal or private interpretation to the text or passage.

Those who correctly interpret the Bible have given more thought and time and study to the Scriptures than those who don't interpret the Bible correctly. Just like any skill can be taught, correct Bible interpretation is also a skill that can be taught to others to help them mature in this area faster.

In the Book of Acts, chapter 17:11 it says that the Thessalonians were considered "more noble or fair-minded" than others because they took the time to really study the Scriptures and test the things that they were hearing by the Word of God. The implication here is that there are also those who are "less noble" and "less fair-minded" because they do not take the Bible seriously.

Just as people can be trained to interpret the Bible honestly and contextually, people can also be trained to misinterpret the Bible and handle God's Word loosely. We've all worked with people who "cut corners" or do a sloppy job, and we've seen the damage that can be done. Whether its with the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 or the 2010 BP oil spill, great damage can be caused when corners are cut. It is no different with interpreting the Bible. You can interpret it correctly and help people or interpret it incorrectly and cause great harm. The choice is yours, but remember we will all give an account to God for how we read, interpret and apply God's word. It is so important that we not just repeat what someone tells us just because it sounds good, but because we've tested it to be true according to sound Biblical interpretation and not the passing religious fads of the day.

And so when it comes to learning the Bible it is so important to sit under good Bible teaching because not only does it feed you a healthy meal of truth as opposed to spiritual junk food, hearing good Bible teaching also teaches you how to interpret the Bible correctly and prepare a healthy meal for yourself and others.

I must conclude in saying that honest, mature biblical interpretation never discounts the role of the Holy Spirit in illuminating, clarifying and even correctly applying God's Word.

Ultimately the power behind the teaching, hearing and applying of God's Word rests in God Himself. Nevertheless those who know us and hear us ought to be able to observe a maturing in how we interpret and apply the Word of God as any craftsman ought to progress in their skills.

May God help us to be humble enough to change our perspective should we receive greater light regarding sound Biblical interpretation. May we always be teachable and willing to hear and understand views other than our own. May we be discerning enough to know when we must remain resolved and unwavering having discovered through much study the very best interpretation of any passage or topic in the Bible. And finally, may we be gracious towards those who have come to different conclusions than our own.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." -2 Timothy 2:15

Some other related blogs I've written that may be of interest:
Do you take the Bible literally?

F.A.C.E.S.M.A.P. "Evidence the Bible is Trustworthy"

Bibliolatry and Dogma

G.P.S. "God's Positioning System"

The Dishonest Skeptic

The Gospel

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Scandalous Christmas and its CHRIST

Who would have even thought that a story like this would ever get off the ground? But it did. And some people actually believe it.

Once upon a time, 2000 years ago, the invisible, eternal, Creator God entered into time and space and became a fetus inside of an unmarried poor Jewish peasant girl named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a blue collared carpenter named Joseph. Mary claimed the child in her womb was from God and that she had not been sleeping around but was still a virgin. No doubt in that highly conservative and religious community she was instantly rejected as a dirty sinner who had gotten pregnant outside of wedlock and really deserved death or desertion. Her reputation in that community would forever be that of an adulteress and fornicator. And Joseph, who could’ve easily found another wife decided to marry this pregnant Mary and become father to a child that was not his own. His reputation likewise would forever be tarnished having taken such a disgraceful woman to be his wife and an illegitimate child to be his son. And this was just the beginning of the perfect reputation of the earthly parents of the “divine” baby Jesus, who would eventually be born in front of an audience of animals; goats, donkeys, sheep, and oxen and all the wonderful smells that accompany such a sanitized environment as his mommy goes into labor. An illegitimate birth in an illegitimate place to a couple of poor Jews. But I thought Jesus was a King! This kid is at a huge disadvantage before He’s even born! Right? Shouldn't He be born in a palace, in a popular town somewhere, to some wealthy noble couple of great religious and political reputation? And yet, here you have a couple Jewish nobodies, who claim their Son is literally from God, but they give birth to this “Special Child” in an animal cave, a barn practically, in the middle of backwoods Bethlehem. Then they run from Bethlehem because Herod the King has commanded mandatory post-birth abortions on all boys 2 years old and younger hoping to kill Jesus before He grows up and threatens his career.  Joseph and Mary raise Jesus in hated Egypt for a few years which is not kosher, and then they take him up north to grow up in a neighborhood in nowhere Nazareth where they have other sons and daughters. 

Well, Jesus grows up in silence for nearly 30 years alongside brothers and sisters who don’t believe He’s anything super-special. He works as a blue collared carpenter alongside his dad Joseph as a young adult. Sometime when He’s around 30 years old he pops up on the scene near Jerusalem, following the crazy open air preaching ministry of His cousin John the Baptist, who dresses like an animal, eats bugs and yells at people to stop sinning. Jesus then does what every parent hopes their child will do, He leaves the hammer and nails career of a carpenter to be a homeless Gospel preacher. Except this Gospel preacher actually claimed to be the Son of God and Savior of the world. Kinda bold don’t you think? 

Well, He carefully gathered an elite group of 12 followers that many actually considered to be losers; a motley-crue mix of fishermen, tax collectors, religious and political zealots, brothers, cousins; two handfuls of nobodies. And for the final 3 years of His short life He travels with these knuckle-heads, preaching in the streets, teaching in the Jewish synagogues, and on the countryside, healing sick people of diseases, casting demons out of people, and teaching His followers to love God, love people and follow Him sincerely. 

Eventually this circuit preacher became a real threat to the “establishment” of the day. He ends up angering the religious and political leaders so much that they decide to have Him executed for being a blasphemous cult leader, who claimed to be God, but they were certain He was really demon possessed, practicing sorcery and leading a heretical rebellion against the nation and the true religion of Israel. This guy was causing problems for the status quo! He wasn't politically or religiously correct as far as they were concerned. He needed to be censored, even if it meant killing Him. He offended both sides of the isle. He wouldn't fit into their box and refused to play their games. Jesus offended both the religious and the rebellious. With His words He afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. Jesus always acted as if He was in total control, even when they were killing Him. He said He came from heaven to earth to die for sins, to save from hell, to rise again. He predicted His death, who would kill Him, how He’d die, and how He’d rise again on the third day. But even His disciples who lived with him for nearly 3 years didn't understand or believe it. He wasn't fitting into their box either. What is it with this guy? Why is He so different from every person that has ever lived? He washed the feet of His disciples as a slave would wash the feet of their master. When He hung on the cross naked He prayed for those who were killing Him. And then He died…

If the story ended there we would be fools to believe it. But on the third day, early in the morning, the tomb of Jesus was empty. Did someone steal the body? Did He even really die? Maybe they went to the wrong tomb? I mean, the documents say He rose from the dead and revealed Himself first to three women. And of course we know how valued a woman’s testimony was in that culture, right? Obviously I speak sarcastically. Why would He rise from the dead and show Himself to women first in a community that didn’t even regard a woman’s testimony as valid as a man’s. This story is backwards in every area! Who would have the hero first die for the villains, the sinners, and then rise from the dead to be seen by a few women in a man’s culture?  Did a bunch of women conspire to make this thing up? But wait, then He appears to His own disciples and they don’t even recognize Him at first. And when they see Him, they think it’s a ghost, and Jesus has to ask them to touch Him. He even eats a meal with them to show them He’s not a ghost. So you mean to tell me that even the “believers” didn't believe Him at first? Who’s writing this? Someone needs to doctor this thing up so that the disciples don’t appear to be so skeptical and unbelieving. Right? I mean who’s actually going to believe this stuff if the disciples come off sounding like your average, everyday ordinary people? But that’s what it says. The documents also say that after He rose from the dead He walked the earth 40 days, revealing Himself to people, telling them to go and tell others He is risen from the dead. It says He appeared to over 500 people at one time. Jesus’ own brothers, James and Jude, who were skeptics His whole life and thought He was crazy, became believers immediately after they saw Him risen from the dead. Doubting Thomas thought the other disciples were lying to him when they told him Jesus was alive from the dead. And finally even some of His own enemies saw Him alive after He had died and became followers. These nobodies, these losers, these skeptics, critics, cynics, these doubters became believers and eventually wrote down their eye-witness accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have bound together their stories in what is now called, the Bible. And within its pages you can read the original Christmas Story, which is even more wonderfully scandalous because it’s historically true! That God became a baby to die for you!  

Christmas is about CHRIST!      Do you know Him? 

This Christmas season, as you receive all kinds of gifts from people that probably won't change your life in any major way, why don't you receive the gift of eternal life from God by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. This will change your life and eternity!

Jesus told a man, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses." -Luke 12:15

Jesus also said, "What shall it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul?" -Mark 8:36

Merry Christmas.

Some other blogs I've written that may be of interest:
The Gospel
The Dishonest Skeptic
Do you take the Bible literally?
F.A.C.E.S.M.A.P. "Evidence the Bible is Trustworthy"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How could a Loving God send someone to Hell?

How would you respond to those who say,
"A loving God would never send someone to hell"?

I would start with a question,
"How do you know that God is a loving God?"
A lot of people believe that God is loving but how do they know that's true?
People often assume that God is loving without really thinking about how they know that.
How do you really know that God is loving?
Creation and nature do not tell you this. You cannot learn that God is loving by looking at the planets and stars, animals or people.
So how can we really know that God is loving?
Well, to know that God is actually a loving God rather than evil or indifferent you would need special, specific revelation about Him.
You would need information about God from God or from someone who truely knows Him.

The Scriptures claim to be God's special and specific revelation to mankind. These Scriptures written by God through men and women who knew God are a special revelation that God is in fact a very loving.
The world around us does not reveal specifically that God is loving but the Word of God does.
The Bible from beginning to end reveals that God is infinitely loving and good.

We also have another special and specific revelation that assures us that God is loving.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was a unique Messenger from God in that He claimed to be God Himself.
You cannot ask for a better witness of the character and love of God than God Himself.
Jesus not only claimed to be God, but He also believed and taught that the Scriptures were an accurate revelation from God, the actual Word of God.

And so we know that God is a loving God though the pages of Scripture, The Bible, and through the Person of Jesus Christ, God Himself.

In light of our innitial question the Scriptures and Jesus both tell us 2 very important things about God:
1-God is loving
2-God does send people to hell.

God's love for righteousness and His hatred for evil has led Him to both save people from hell and send people to hell.

As I mentioned before, Jesus actually claimed to be the loving God revealed in the Scriptures, and believe it or not we get the mass majority of our teaching about hell from the mouth of Jesus Himself.
If you want to learn about hell just go straight to the teachings of Jesus, the God of Love, and read for yourself.
Actually, contrary to popular belief, Jesus taught more about hell than He taught about heaven.
You can read the New Testment and see for yourself.

After teaching the world about the reality of heaven and hell, Jesus Christ then gave up His own life, dying on a cross for our sins in order to save us from the very hell He warned us about.
This was the ultimate demonstration of God's love for people.
If you want to learn all about the love of God just go straight to Jesus in the Bible and read for yourself.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8

Only in the Bible does the Hero die for the villains!

It is the climax of God's LOVE that saves us from the depths of God's HELL.

And so, in Jesus Christ, you actually have the God of Love in human form dying on a cross for sinners in order to save them from the hell He warned us about.
Jesus rose from the grave and offers a "get out of hell free card" to anyone that turns from sin and trust in Him for salvation.
I can't think of anything more loving that God could do.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." -John 15:13

Let's summarize:
"How could a loving God send someone to hell?
1-We only know that God is loving through the Bible and the person of Jesus.
2-The Bible and Jesus both clearly teach that God sends people to hell.
3-God became a Man in Jesus Christ and died on the cross to save sinners from hell.
4-The death of Jesus Christ is the greatest demonstration of God's love.
5-A loving God sends people to hell who reject His love and salvation offered in Jesus Christ.

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." -John 3:36

God's forgiveness is not automatic. Come to Jesus!

Other related blogs I've written that may be of interest:
The Dishonest Skeptic
Why did God order the killing of the Canaanites?
Do you take the Bible literally?
The Gospel

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Family Pics October 2013

Well, we're overdue again in sending out 
an update and pictures of the family.
A lot has gone on this year and we hope to give 
greater details in the future. 
But in the meantime here's a few pictures.

We finally had to say good bye to Angela's trusty Acura this year.

And we got to say hello to a new (used) family minivan.
This has been a huge blessing for us!

Someone gave us the yellow Jeep, but it was broken. 
I was able to fix it so James can drive it,
 and now Jonathan can have the smaller one.
New rides for everyone!!!

Jonathan isn't old enough to drive, but he sure can ride!
James is becoming a good driver.

I guess Jonathan called "shotgun!"

We thought we needed our official "rock-band" picture.

Jonathan's the drummer, he loves them!

James learned how to drive the boat around the lake this summer.


James riding the rides at the carnival near the beach.

Jonathan in his man-cave.

Beach boys.
Jonathan was old enough to enjoy the beach this year.
James loves playing at the beach.

Say What!
He's growin' up quick.

No baby "Super-heros" were hurt in the taking of this picture.


Pray for our the Lord's Army!

We love you guys! Thanks for all your prayer and encouragement!
The Stephens Family 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pics of Kids 2013

I thought we'd post a few pictures of the kids 
for those of you would like to see.
These are from this past Winter and Spring.

James started soccer this Spring and loved it.

This is James and his good friend Aiden who also lives in our neighborhood.

Jonathan was chillin watching his big brother play soccer.

James Robot.

Hey! Raise the roof I just turned 1!

Got a slide for my birthday.

James at the zoo just hangin out.

Bath time.

Got a little snow this past winter.

First winter and snow experience.

James is good at building castles.

He's built this one all by himself.

Super Saturday church event where he could ride a horse.

The boys.