Making God Known

I returned last week from a trip to Sri Lanka and while I was there I visited a Hindu temple. I was intrigued and saddened by the worship of so many gods as the worshippers gave flowers, lit candles, and donated money- just to name a few things. Hinduism is a religion with thousands of gods and as I walked around I thought of how Paul must have felt when he was in Athens and his spirit was perplexed by the city full of idols. In Acts 17, Paul addresses the Athenians and explains what is unknown to them is the God who made the world and everything in it who is Lord of heaven and earth. Not just that, Paul continues to say he is a giving God- he gives life and breath and everything. We serve an overwhelming loving and generous God who has extended his mercy and grace to us. He has invited us and called us to take part in the mission of telling others of the Creator God.

Paul concludes by saying, “God has overlooked times of ignorance but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”[1] As followers of Christ who desire to pursue the heart of God, we must have an urgency within us to make his name known among all people. We can help globally by praying, giving financially, and going. God also wants to use us with the people we see on a regular basis- whether it be a neighbor, family member, or co-worker- God wants us to make his name known. Please pray for the many souls who do not yet know Jesus- who walk in darkness and are spiritually dead- that their eyes would be opened to know the Author and source of true life and that they would receive forgiveness of sins.

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” [2]

[1] Acts 17:30

[2] Romans 10:13-15

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Bad Idea: Having a Baby With a Demon

MIB 2It is never a good to have a baby with a demon. I am here to argue that it is also never possible. I have 6 basic reasons I don’t think women can (or ever have) procreated with spirit-beings, followed by 2 reasons some people think a passage in the Bible teaches this, followed by 1 reason why the subject of this blog actually doesn’t matter very much.

The text in question is widely regarded as the most obscure passage in the Bible. You’ll find it in Genesis 6:1-4. This text was a part of a longer passage (Genesis 5:1-6:8) that I preached this last Sunday at the gatherings of LifePoint Church.

Here it is:

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh:his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

There are basically two options as we study the opinions of various scholars on this text.

Option #1: “Sons of God” are the righteous line of Seth, and “daughters of men” come from the unrighteous line of Cain. The Nephilim are not their offspring, but simply giant humans who are extremely violent and wicked.

Option #2: “Sons of God” are spirit-beings, most likely demons, which come to earth and intermarry with human women (daughters of men), and the result of their offspring are spirit-humans called the Nephilim. The Nephilim are not the type of individuals you want to meet in a dark alley or allow your daughter to date.

If you care to watch the sermon, I landed on Option #1.

Here are the 6 reasons I don’t think demons and women have babies together:

1) If you read the entire context of this passage, it is talking about human beings.

This text forms the conclusion of the “Line of Cain” vs. “Line of Seth” genealogies. “Sons of God” as the line of Seth (those who “call on the name of the Lord” according to Genesis 4:26) and “daughters of men” as the line of Cain (those who fled from God and live opposed to God according to Genesis 4:16-24) seem to fit quite clearly.

2) The original readers would have read the intent of the original author.

Intermarriage by God’s chosen people with pagan peoples is a strong theme in the Pentateuch, as well as the whole Old Testament. This example in Genesis would have been clearly received through that lens.

3) The text doesn’t actually say that the Nephilim are the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of men.

Read it again. It simply says “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them.” It doesn’t say the Nephilim were the children they bore.

4) Scripture doesn’t teach anywhere else that such a union is sexually possible.

Angels/Demons are never said to have sexuality. In fact, Jesus says the opposite in Matthew 22:30.

5) There is precedent for this interpretation in some of the best historical theology.

Guys like Augustine, John Calvin, and Martin Luther all landed on Option #1. Here is Calvin’s take:

“That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious.”[1]

6) There are zero parallels for this kind of idea in the rest of the canon of Scripture.

We would need to pull from ancient pagan literature or non-canonical inter-testamental literature to find support for the mythological sounding Option #2. While we’re at it, we can find precedence for this reading in the Men in Black Trilogy starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Support for Option #2:

1) Job

In Job we see the exact phrase “sons of God” in Job 1:6 and 2:1. Both places it is referring to angels.

While this is certainly a point to note in one’s research of this topic, the OT does refer to Israel (Deuteronomy 14:1) or kings (2 Samuel 7:14) with “son of God” language.

2) 1 Peter 3:18-22

As a general rule, most try to interpret obscure passages by referring to clear passages. If we take 1 Peter 3 as our biblical support for this reading of Genesis 6:1-4, we are interpreting the most obscure passage in the OT by referring to the most obscure passage in the NT for support. It’s just not the most solid ground to stand on hermeneutically.

I also talked about this in my sermon on 1 Peter 3:18-22 last year, as well as the blogs Spirit’s in Prison Part 1, Spirits in Prison Part 2, Spirits in Prison Part 3, and Spirits in Prison Part 4.

Here is why the subject of this blog doesn’t really matter very much:

The actual identity of the ‘Sons of God’ and the ‘Nephilim’ is not the point of this specific passage. Land on option #1 or option #2, or make up a third option, it just doesn’t really matter. The reason? In context, the entire point of Genesis 6:1-4 is Genesis 6:5:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

So, whether you think pre-flood that demons and women had babies or not, it was a time of epic wickedness and radical corruption which led to the events of the great flood. For more on these events, check out LifePoint this Sunday, or log-in to our live stream beginning at 9:30am and 11am via

[1] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 1, p. 238). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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4 Reasons To Preach the Old Testament

We preach the Old Testament at LifePoint. We preach it a lot. And we like it.

I was asked this question recently: “Why do you preach from the Old Testament so much, aren’t Christians only supposed to learn the New Testament, didn’t Jesus say that?”

For context, we have been preaching the OT this year at LPC like it’s our job. We normally bounce back and forth between OT books studies and NT book studies, but this year has been a little different. After beginning the year in the NT (1 Thessalonians for 12 weeks), we spent 16 weeks through Ecclesiastes, 6 in Psalms, and we are now in the middle of an 8-week series in Genesis chapters 4-11. Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water, we’re planning on 5 weeks in Isaiah for Advent. If this forecast holds, by the time the sun sets on 2015, LifePoint Church will have spent 36 Sundays in the Old Testament.

What’s up with that? Why would Jesus-people be into the Old Testament? Isn’t the OT a Judaism thing? Why would a Christian church be so into the OT?

Here are 4 reasons we preach the OT at LifePoint.

1) Because the New Testament tells us to.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

When Paul wrote the word graphe in that text, which we translate “Scripture,” he was actually talking about the Old Testament. I don’t think it is wrong to apply that verse to the New Testament in our context. But we’re not being biblically faithful if we attempt to apply that verse only to the New Testament.

2) Jesus claimed that He is the main character of the Old Testament.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)

If the Old Testament bears witness about Jesus, it would follow that Jesus-followers should be pretty interested in what it has to say.

3) Jesus and his disciples preached from the Old Testament.

Luke 24 is probably one of the coolest examples of this, as Jesus walks through the OT Scriptures on the Road to Emmaus with some unsuspecting disciples. The New Testament quotes the Old Testament continually. The figures vary, depending on how you slice the data. There are direct quotes, allusions, paraphrases, etc. One estimate is that the NT writers quote the OT Scriptures 855 times. I’ve seen some claim well over 1,000 references. If Jesus and the disciples preached the OT so much, I think as we “make disciples teaching them to obey all I (Jesus) have commanded,” the OT demands to be preached.

4) Neglecting it would be turning our backs on roughly 2/3 of God’s written revelation.

Faithful preachers preach the whole counsel of God. Faithful Christian preachers also preach Christ from all of Scripture. The OT canon does not exist for us to moralize, generalize, or allegorize the characters or events therein. It exists, like the rest of God’s revelation in Scripture, to point us to Christ, to teach us the gospel, and to save our souls from death.


If you like this post, check out last year’s post 6 reasons we preach the OT. If none of them overlap, you now have 10 reasons. That’s a good deal.

Posted in 2theSource, Biblical Truth, Expositional Preaching, Old Testament | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Plan for the Financial Plan

The Financial Plan (a.k.a. The Budget) is one of the most important documents that a church leadership team produces in a giving year. In studying a church’s Financial Plan it is easy to tell what their vision and priorities are. It is also easy to tell how fiscally responsible they are. In this blog, as the title suggests, I want to give you a general plan for creating an annual financial plan.

This post is essentially a continuation of lasts week’s, which was built upon, that was about clarifying mission, vision, and strategies. By putting these blogs all together a church leadership team will have a very solid working plan for a coming year. Putting these steps in the suggested order is super important. To create a financial plan before clarifying the vision or outlining a calendar would be like purchasing gasoline before you own a car. In other words, it is a little premature.

Let’s start in the finance office. First, the finance office should review and update the chart of accounts; bearing in mind ministry changes, personnel changes, etc. Second, the finance office should create the template that everyone will use to put their budgets together. The template can be produced straight from the accounting software, from MS Excel, Google Sheets, or Mac’s Numbers. Regardless, there should be uniformity to the software and template used so everyone is working from the same platform. This is important because the church leadership will have to review the individual budgets at some point. If they are built from different software or formatted differently, time will be wasted trying to interpret and then reorganize each individual budget. Third, the finance office needs to gather the historical information on income and expenses. I suggest the two years prior as well as year-to-date information through the third quarter. All of this is then distributed to the ministry team leaders who are responsible for establishing their financial plan for the coming year. Give everyone a date by which they should have the first draft turned back in.

Since the mission, vision, strategies, objectives, and calendaring have already been laid out the ministry team leaders are simply working with numbers at this point. First, month-to-month income needs to be projected. Using the historical data, noticing the trends, and having faith the lead team can establish the income portion of the financial plan. This would include Tithes and Undesignated Offerings, Missions, Capital Campaign Funds, Use of Facilities, Etc. Note: The individual ministries will establish their income based on their plans (as well as their expenses).

While the team members are working on their first draft the leadership team is looking at compensation, considering increased costs in insurances and contracted services (e.g. landscaping, accounting, janitorial services), leadership development cost, and capital costs (e.g. computers, remodeling, A/V equipment, etc.), major maintenance projects (carpet or roof replacement, parking lot maintenance, HVAC repairs, etc.).[1] In the mix of all this figuring the leadership team is also determining how much the “general fund” will subsidize the individual ministries.

Once everyone has submitted their first draft the numbers are all plugged into the software and the financial plan as a whole is given to the leadership team. If it is given to them in hardcopy form be sure to print it in color so they can see the red ink! Inevitably there will be quite a bit of it. People have been dreaming big. Now the dreams have to be tethered to a given year and put into the perspective of the whole church. There is a reason we call it the “first” draft. You guessed it, draft number two is forthcoming. When giving the individual budgets back to the team leaders for draft number two it is a good idea to give them an idea of where they should be with regard to a subsidy. Whether there are subsequent rounds of drafts is up to each leadership team. I don’t like to do the back and forth thing too much. It doesn’t seem like a good use of anyone’s time. The bottom line is the bottom line so let’s get to it as efficiently as possible.

The church’s governance and structure will determine some of this process. The Elder Team or Board of Directors may have a hand in developing the Financial Plan. More than likely they will be the ones to review and approve it. Once it is approved it should be followed, BUT it is just a plan. It is not a mandate. A church leadership team should remember that they created it and they can change it. This, of course, must be done with wisdom and in submission to the appropriate authority, but opportunities for advancing the Gospel will arise within a given year that were not foreseen when the Financial Plan was being put together. These opportunities shouldn’t be neglected due to some false sense of being absolutely bound to the Financial Plan.

From start to finish this process takes a few months. At times it seems tedious, but don’t allow yourself or your team to cut corners on it. This is about stewardship. Jesus expects those he has charged with overseeing his church to be faithful in these matters.

[1] I realize that I use “etc.” a lot. I do this to keep the blog shorter and because I’m being lazy, not wanting to think of every possible things!

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A Plan for Annual Planning

Last month I wrote on the importance of church leadership truly having a grasp on the Why, What, and How of the church; that is the Mission, Vision, and Strategies of the church. You can get a quick refresher at This month I want to continue in this vein and articulate a simple outline for annual planning.

After getting the mission, vision, and strategies crisply in the hearts and minds of the leadership team plans can be made for the coming year. First, the lead pastor and/or the lead team of the church must set the tenor and major initiatives for the coming year. This can happen in various forums, but it must not happen without serious prayer and contemplation. The forums can include several “brain trust” meetings, a retreat, etc. Don’t be afraid to challenge the norms and take risks in planning. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Second, the various team leaders take their cue and develop the initiatives and goals that they want to achieve in their respective areas of ministry. They should do this within the context of their teams.

The church calendar is the next proposal to consider. There are plenty of platforms on which the church can manage its gatherings, events, etc. The main items should get placed on the calendar first and then individual ministry items (e.g. all staff meetings should precede youth staff meetings). Once the calendar is populated someone should be tasked with viewing it as a whole and its details, looking for what is missing as well as for conflicts. For instance, it may be a conflict for the church to plan its Annual Members Meeting over a holiday weekend or for the church to launch a capital campaign during its annual missions emphasis. After the calendar has been reviewed and refined it is ready for publishing. Now, unless Jesus comes back, you know what you are supposed to do.[1]

Part of the calendaring process is considering the cost of the proposed plans. Each calendar item should be thought through and be reflected in the Financial Plan (a.k.a. The Budget). Laying out the Financial Plan is another blog altogether.[2] For now, keep in mind that it is imprudent to put something on the calendar and not plan to pay for it (Luke 14:28).

[1] If He comes back, scrap your plans. You won’t need them any longer.

[2] Watch for A Plan for the Financial Plan on September 20th.

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It’s a Big Deal – You’re Invited

On Wednesday, September 23rd we will be hosting a family life event for all parents: Big DealIt’s a Big Deal.

As a new youth pastor, I’m learning that everything we do as youth leaders for our students is only a fraction of the influence that their parents have in their lives. The relationships that we form and the sermons we preach are supplemental to the impact that parents have on their children. The best way to describe this relationship is that we are partners!

This is the way that God designed it. In Deuteronomy 6:7 God instructs parents:

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).

At the center of God’s plan for teaching His people His ways is parenting; clearly, it’s a big deal.

Just because God designed it this way doesn’t mean it’s easy. On the contrary, it can be the hardest thing in the world at times! That’s why the Family Life team at LifePoint is taking an entire night to celebrate, encourage, and equip the parents of our students.

We are going to serve a first-class dinner, hear from our lead Pastor Andrew Murch, and then provide a few workshops that you can choose from. We’ll also be providing some resources for parenting and hearing about exciting changes to the Family Life ministry at LPC.

There will be activities for children as well as normal programming for our Middle and High School students. No matter how old your children are, please come out and enjoy this party. After all, it’s for you!

RSVP Today

Preview of Workshops: 

1. Implementing Healthy Boundaries
When do I say “yes” and when do I say “no”? How can we train our children to become responsible adults? What if other parents don’t share my opinions?

2. Meaningful Family Devotions
With our crazy schedules can I really develop family habits? What does discipleship look like in the busyness of life as a family? How can I model a relationship with Jesus for my kids?

3. Sexual Purity & Technology
What are the challenges our children face with technology? How can I help them maintain their sexual purity in a sex-saturated culture?

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It’s A Big Deal

Big DealLiving as a follower of Jesus in the 21st century poses many challenges. Parenting is more challenging than ever before because not only are you responsible for your own spiritual growth but you are also responsible to teach your children how to develop their relationship with God. With ungodly influences facing us and our kids in every facet of our society, how can parents  navigate their kids in the ways of God on a daily basis? How can we raise our kids to live a godly life devoted to Jesus and still engage culture that is far removed from Christian morals? What are biblical and practical ideas one can implement in their parenting strategies?

At LifePoint, we believe parenting is a big deal, so we are hosting a free event to encourage and equip parents. This will be an evening where we will celebrate parents, equip parents, and also communicate some exciting changes coming to Family Life at LifePoint Church. Whether you have an infant or a seventeen year old, you can benefit from this event. There also will be breakout workshops including:

  1. Implementing healthy boundaries
  2. Meaningful family devotions
  3. Sexual purity & technology

The event is called, “It’s A Big Deal” and will be on Wednesday, September 23 from 6-8:30pm. Activities will be provided for children of all ages as well as dinner for all who come.

Click here to RSVP.

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