In several ways this is a follow up to my last podcast, but perhaps broader. It’s been intriguing to me to observe so many changes in the past decade, and one thing in particular I am still trying to understand what to do with it. So much of the training of believers has been to prepare them to go out into the world to defend and present the gospel to lost communities. Yet, while this is still happening, I know, in our churches but also in Christian academic institutions what we are preparing our people for, particular the younger generation is far more complicated than in past decades. I know for example my own alma-mater, Toccoa Falls College, (TFC) in my generation we placed high stress on preparing pastors and missionaries, but now, and I think this is good, there is a high commitment to train all believers with an equal passion and call to represent Christ in all vocations. This is certainly happening at TFC as well as other Christian Colleges and Universities.
I had the privilege recently to sit down with Dr. Bob Myers, President of TFC, to discuss this topic along with other challenges this college and other colleges are facing as the world becomes increasingly secular and certainly less gospel friendly. I will not introduce Dr. Myers here, as during this podcast he does share a good bit of his own personal journey., but you will find an extensive bio on our BYQ website, www.beforeyouquit.us. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and join me as my guest as I talk to Dr. Bob Myers in his office on the campus of TFC.
This is a needed conversation, especially as the church, as we believers find ourselves trying to figure out our response to the moral dilemma impacting our society. We are no longer just preparing our people on how to respond to the issues of our world, but now we are the ones struggling ourselves with these issues. Many of the issues the world now gives in to are the issues many in our churches are fighting against. It was amazing to me to watch a change take place in my last ten years of pastoring. I remember so well begging a young college girl who attended our church not to abort her baby. I even promised that our family would adopt the baby. She went through with her plans, and for the first time this was no longer a statistical crisis for me.
I remember too well the conversations I had with same sex couples who, while attended our church, struggled to find a way through and live obedient to the message of the gospel. Others who attended found it too difficult to live under the continuous invitation to embrace the gospel message.
I cannot count how many conversations I had with young men struggling with the ravages of pornography, many of them deeply addicted. I really don’t think we can have too many conversations about these many issues on what I am titling for this podcast; Sexual Identity and the Gospel Response. The big question we are going to wrestle through today is how can the church remain committed to the gospel and in a loving and caring way speak out against the ravages of sexual addiction while at the same time speaking for the person who is caught up in these issues.
I had the privilege of meeting Gene Shroeder several years ago through a mutual friend and because of his expert training and experience in counseling people with sexual addictions I asked him to sit down with me for an honest and open conversation on exactly this; What is the gospel response to sexual addiction.
Gene Schrader, founder and director of North Atlanta Counseling Services (NACS), is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (A.A.C.C.). He has been in private practice since 1977 with extensive experience in individual therapy, marriage and family therapy, teenage problems and sexuality. He brings God’s truth to those in conflict within their marriages, adjusting and grieving to losses in life, and depression.
A frequent speaker for church groups, he has conducted seminars on sexuality, bonding and true intimacy, parenting and fathering, overcoming affairs, and loyalty. Gene earned his masters degree in counseling from Georgia State University concurrently while attending Psychological Studies Institute (a Christian psychological institute). He has been in Christian related ministries since 1972.
Married since 1963, Gene and his wife, Eldeen, have two daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.
Some times I wonder how well I would do raising children even teenagers today. Maybe all parents feel blessed that they are not having to raise children during this generation. Even those raising them now will likely say the same thing when their children are all grow’d-up. One thing every parent who is seeking to raise godly children will say is, it is not easy to do so in a culture that is becoming increasingly godless and even now promoting things that are completely antithetical to the gospel. Perhaps one of our biggest challenges has to do with exposing or protecting our children to social media. I love watching my daughter and her husband navigate this challenge so beautifully with our three year old granddaughter. We share strict roles with them. No youtube. No TV till age of two because of how such a young brain views the images and interprets them differently than we think. Limited time watching TV.
Some times I wonder how well I would do raising children, even teenagers, today. Maybe all parents feel blessed that they are not having to raise children during this generation. Even those raising them now will likely say the same thing when their children are all grow’d-up. One thing every parent who is seeking to raise godly children will say is, “it is not easy to do so in a culture that is becoming increasingly godless and even now promoting things that are completely antithetical to the gospel”. Perhaps one of our biggest challenges has to do with exposing or protecting our children to social media. I love watching my daughter and her husband navigate this challenge so beautifully with our three year old granddaughter. We share strict roles with them. As grandparents we have conversations about being all on the same page. No youtube. No TV till age of two because of how such a young brain views the images and interprets them differently than we think. Now that she is past 3 limited time watching TV and so many other value commit READ MORE
Lets talk Church! Do we need to resign oursleves to the notion that church as we know it is dead?
A recent FoxNews story wrote the following: “Now, about a decade ago, forward-thinking churches realized that people no longer engaged with organizations just physically, so they developed online platforms that streamed services parallel to the physical church.
This caused plenty of controversy at the time because people suddenly had the option to attend church OR stay home and watch online, rocking the old location-centric model. So, church leaders opted to keep the physical and digital services separate enough to make it work.
Then, when social media and YouTube entered the scene, those forward-thinking churches adjusted again, creating multi-channel strategies that allowed people to access some content physically, some online, and some on the church’s social media platforms.” (For Source of article click here)
I recently had the privilege of talking to Dr. Dwight Smith about how church has always mattered, and continues to matter. In fact, it is primarily through the church that God does what he is doing. The church IS The Body of Christ. God works through his church. Church does matter.
About Dwight. In addition to his responsibilities as the leader of Saturation Church Planting International, Dr. Smith carries a strong burden for the local churches of North America because it is his firm belief that the local church is God’s primary instrument for world evangelization Therefore, he makes himself available on weekends for conferences, teaching seminars and leadership workshops. as his schedule permits. In recent years, Dwight has worked with a growing number of church leaders and church planters in the US. The goal of those relationships is the reevangelization of the some 300 million people living in America by the planting, replanting and repurposing of 100,000 churches.
I am not sure we appreciate as well as we should what its like to serve the Lord Jesus and share the gospel with people in a society with little freedoms. Most of us are aware that many believers from the US and other nations are working undercover in a sense in what we call Creative Access countries. In many cases if the government really knew what we were doing there, our workers would either be captured, or expelled. While this is hard, its not near as hard as it is for those in those countries who do not have the freedom to leave. They are left to live out their faith sometimes under severe opposition. Today I am going to be talking to Pierre and Chloe, but for their protection that is not their real name. They are going to tell the first hand account of what it was like to be caught preaching the gospel in a creative access country. WIth that story they will also share the amazing way that God reached them with the gospel and the eventual cost to them personally but also their family.
I grew up in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia. Over 200 tribes with distinct languages spread across the landscape of this rugged island. It was only in the late 1950’s that many of these tribes heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember as a child hearing of the tragic death of two men, Phil Masters and Stan Dale who were martyred by a tribe they attempted to reach. Six months later, a small airplane crashed in the same location when one sole survivor, Paul Newman, was rescued by an old man belonging to the very tribe that had killed Phil and Stan. In only the way God can, these two events came together to provide the sovereign context for the gospel to be presented to these people. What a privilege I had to interview Phil’s wife, Phyliss, who shares about her role in helping the people who killed her husband to hear of the saving message of Jesus.
Aside from the Bible, one other book served as my lifeline during the hardest period of my life; my wife’s brain surgery and subsequent struggle to recover her speech, reading/writing skills, and my son’s passing to cancer just months after. That book was A Grace Disguised by Dr. Gerald Sittser. I’ve read the book probably four times, and recommended it to many who needed a healthy dose of theological perspective. What a thrill to land an interview with the author of this book, Dr. Gerald Sittser.
Order A Grace Disguised Here
Those who have any connection with Toccoa Falls College will know exactly what happened on November 6, 1977. The flood at Toccoa Falls College, pushing millions of gallons of water through a weakened earthen dam, took the lives of 39 people. Several lost their entire family. The story you’re going to hear in this podcast is Pastor Bob Harner’s account of remaining faithful to Jesus while trying to cope with the drowning of his wife and young son. This is truly a story that continues to bring glory to a faithful and sovereign God who shows his goodness to those who continue to trust him despite the pain that comes along the way.
One of my passions with the Before You Quit podcast is to reach not just pastors and ministry leaders, but also to relate to elders who serve these churches and pastors. One of my greatest joys with this ministry is when I see elders coming around their pastor, serving him, making him accountable to them, them to him, and watching his back when he’s either criticized or even under attack. In a true sense, the elders are the Guardians to the past READ MORE
We’re going to talk today about what it is like to be serving in a closed country. When we say closed country, we mean a culture where sharing the gospel freely is not possible without likely recriminations. I will not be using the person’s real name that I am interviewing, but I will refer to him a few times as Peter.And for his protection we will not refer to the country where he serves. However I can tell you that God is moving. READ MORE