What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

~ Romans 1:18-20

From Caleb,

Would God really send those who have never heard the Gospel to hell? Let’s talk about it, because this a question that believers and non-believers share alike!

Let’s look at an example…

Hunter: “Do all people really go to hell if they don’t confess Jesus Christ as their Savior?”

Alice: “God makes it pretty clear throughout scripture that all have fallen short of glory and that the wages of sin is death. I would recommend taking a close look at the book of Romans.”

Hunter: “Yeah. I get that. I know all that stuff. But let’s just say, for example, there was a guy on a remote island, and no one knew he was there, so no one could share the Gospel with him. This guy, when he died, would he go to hell?”

Alice: “Sadly, yes. But let me explain why…”

“But let me explain why…”

I’m sure that our friend Alice would answer somewhat along these lines: The truth is yes, and God makes it clear through the apostle Paul why in Romans chapter 1. 

From Romans, we are shown that these people, even though they have never heard about God, have already had the truth and knowledge of God revealed to them through creation by God himself. Because he has so obviously demonstrated himself through everything that exists, God tells us that these people are “without excuse”. 

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means everyone, no matter the circumstance, is separated from God, and without trusting in Christ to save us from our sins, we will spend eternity separated from him. This even includes the person on the island that has never had the opportunity to hear about Christ.

“Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people.”

Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people. There are 3.14 billion people that haven’t even heard the name of Jesus, so you need to keep that in mind when answering this question. Most people, when they ask this question are waiting for you to say that they will go to hell, that way they can, essentially, roast you by saying “See! God is an angry, unjust God! How could he call himself good and loving when he does stuff like that!”

Be prepared to answer that response. My reply to that would then simply be that by God doing this, he is able to call himself just and holy. He is just because he puts in place consequences for sin. He is holy because sin cannot exist in his presence. Sin cannot exist in his presence because he is perfect and without fault. He is light, and in him and around him there can be no darkness. However, he has made a way for us to be made right with him. Based on this, you can say that he is both just and good. 

Not only has he made a way for us to be restored back to him, but he has also made it abundantly clear through creation. Because he has made it clear through things such as creation, Paul says these people have no excuse for the sin in their hearts. These people are still guilty of sin, and God cannot be in the presence of sin. As Christians, this knowledge should break our hearts. This should motivate us in our walk to share the Gospel unconditionally with people in our nation and abroad. This is Christ’s grand design!

Are Mormons Christians?

Mormons

“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

– Isaiah 44:8

From Alex,

The Lord has recently laid the Mormon church and people on my heart, and I think it is my duty to share this with you. Many people have claimed that Mormons are Christians. “I follow Christ, I want to be more like Christ, of course, I’m a Christian” a Mormon might say. The official name for the Mormon Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for goodness sakes! Under the “Scriptures and Study” tab on the LDS website, in fact, they list the Bible as one of their Holy Books they subscribe to! But, foundationally, does the Bible and the Mormon Church speak of the same God? Let’s test every spirit here and look at a few core Mormon beliefs, in order to discern whether they are parallel to what God says in the Bible.

Before that though, let’s ask: Where is the authority in the Mormon Church?

The answer is: there are many different sources. From the Church governors, consisting of a small 3-person team by the name of the First Presidency, to the group of 12 Apostles under them, to the Book of Mormon. All of these forces are considered eligible to dictate truth regarding god, man, doctrine, etc. through mediums like prophecy and revelation (as both the First Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles are believed to be current-day Isaiah’s, who receive revelation from god today and pronounce it to the church as doctrine).

Mormons believe that all men have the potential to become gods themselves. They teach that men, through living a good Mormon life, are able to become exactly like the God of the Bible, and, through “afterlife work” (which they really won’t admit to knowing much about), they too can become all powerful, all knowing, and all present. In fact, they would support the claim that the same God described in the Bible used to be a man just like you and me, a sinner even. I don’t know about you, but this sounds an awful lot like the promise given by Satan in the garden. This belief by itself distinctly separates Biblical Christianity from Mormon theology. The Mormon god and the God of the Bible are not the same because of this.

But, to support that claim even further, let’s take a look at another belief that (discreetly) distinguishes the two: the method of salvation (how someone gets to heaven). In Mormonism, like in almost all religion, you are saved by living a life devoted to the rules of the Deity. Contrary to the Bible, Mormons believe the grace of God comes “…after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). In other words, if you try hard enough, pray often enough, and give regularly, then the mercy of God is extended to you. The Bible does not teach this at all. The Bible says “…by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight…” (Romans 3:20), “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3: 22), and “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). Meaning, you can’t earn it! Because everyone has sinned, we are all condemned before God, and it is only by faith that one is made right with God before any good works are done. Paul speaks clearly about this in Romans 4, that before Abraham did anything good for God, he was innocent in God’s eyes. He wasn’t justified because he lived a good life filled with rule-following and good intentions. Even with that, he still would’ve been condemned without faith.

Mormonism teaches 1) that you can earn your way to heaven, and 2) that one day, in the afterlife, you can become a god too. These beliefs directly conflict with the teaching of the Bible. Mormons are not Christians.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “Becoming Like God.” Doctrine and Covenants 8, http://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng.

Giving Thanks for Grounds4Faith

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8

From Caleb,

In the States, it’s almost time for the Thanksgiving holiday. With that in mind, I want to give praise and thanksgiving back to the Lord. HE IS SO GOOD!

For a long time, I planned on going overseas to a country I had been praying over for a couple of years. I thought it would finally be my time to go overseas to the country I longed to be in. It was around May of 2018, I opened my email, ecstatic to read one I had recently received from the missionary I had been in contact with; unfortunately, my excitement quickly dissipated.

They said that they wouldn’t be able to have me in December like we had planned earlier that year. I was crushed. I hit my knees in prayer, asking that the Lord would use my time here in the United States for his glory since it clearly wasn’t my time to go.

Since then, I have seen the Lord do mighty things. Christ has allowed me to publish my first book, begin drafting a second book, and start Grounds4Faith and its many other aspects. Not to mention, I have been able to have countless gospel conversations with people because of the reach of Grounds4Faith.

All along the way, Christ has constantly encouraged me through the people around me. I want to be honest with you all, when the ministry first began, I was concerned about numbers of every: how many of “this” did we have, how much of “that” did we do, how many people were there, how many “views” did we get, how many likes do we have?

The numbers used to greatly concern me, and I used to base our success off of that. Time and time again, when numbers looked “bad” to my prideful human eyes, God would send someone along to redirect my focus by showing me how he had been working around me. After numerous times of this happening, I stopped thinking about the numbers, and I asked the Lord to open my eyes up to all the things he’s doing around me.

It has been so liberating to see all that he is doing and how he is moving. God isn’t concerned about the numbers I generate, he’s concerned about me being faithful. The Lord has blessed me significantly through everyone around me that has continually encouraged me through God’s word. God is on the move all around, and I am thankful that he chooses unworthy people, like me, to be a part of his amazing plan. 

Everything that has happened and continues to go on through Grounds4Faith is all the Lord’s doing. To him, all thanks is due. May all the glory honor and praise be to Christ Jesus. Amen.

Give thanks back to the Lord in all things. Being thankful to God is not just a once or twice a year thing, it’s an everyday thing.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

~ Psalm 100:1-5

The Catalyst

THE CATALYST – December 8th @ 11 am

The Catalyst (1)

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

~ Acts 4:31

Throughout scripture, we can see that when the people of God want to see crazy thing happen, they come to him in cooperate prayer, continually. This is what we want to see the Lord do. We want to see God change the hearts of the students in our schools back to him!

On December 8th, you will gather at YOUR school with other students and begin prayer walking around the campus at 11 a.m.. Adults are welcomed to the event as well!

Adults, go pray for the school that your children attend or attended. Take time to invest in that school by praying with students as well!

Home-Schoolers, pick a local school to go pray around, or if you participate in a co-op, go there!

Through The Catalyst, we seek to unite believers in the community with one another all for the sake of advancing the Kingdom. Use this opportunity to build community with one another: go out to lunch or hangout with one another after the event!

Following the first event on December 8th, you will meet again EVERY SECOND SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH at the SAME TIME.

Help spread the word by downloading the picture and posting it to social media!

Download the picture HERE!

Herding Sheep

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

John 10: 14-15

From Carly,

Let’s talk about sheep.

Weird topic, I know. I’ve been telling myself the same thing. You would not believe me if I told you that ever since this summer, I have not stopped hearing wise words about sheep. Out of all the things the Lord could be laying on my heart, He chose sheep. Most of the verses or passages that I have read lately have mentioned sheep. Many of the books that I’m reading reference these animals. My friends will randomly start talking about sheep. My team name for a camp this summer was “The Sheep.” I hope you find this as weird as I do.

I believe the Lord works in three’s to get your attention, or at least mine. For example, if I were praying about something and the Lord sent three different people to speak the same words of wisdom into my life, I would feel inclined to follow those words. He makes sure we are aware of His everyday presence in our lives. For this particular sheep situation, I guess I’m just not getting the point, because there has been WAY more than three nudges.

“Okay Lord, I get the picture, but what’s so significant about sheep?”

This is exactly how I went to the Lord with my confusion. Why sheep? Why were these super dumb, needy animals showing up in my life all of a sudden? Well, it turns out that sheep are, in fact, very dumb. No, like very very dumb. Think of the dumbest person you know, they’re dumber. Okay, now that you’ve got the point, picture that very dumb sheep as you. I know we’ve all heard about The Good Shepherd representing God and the sheep, His followers, but rather than focusing on the shepherd aspect, or the characteristics of Jesus for that matter, I believe He is trying to show me the true characteristics of the sheep. You and me.

First of all, we are all in desperate need of a savior, a shepherd who can lead us when we’ve gone astray. We’re all extremely unintelligent compared to the indescribable intellect of The Father. As sheep, we not only need physical guidance, but we also need a fully functioning “brain,” if you will, to help us make healthy decisions. Sheep never learn from their mistakes. There’s always that one misfit that continues to run off, every single day, almost consistently. Does this sound familiar? Maybe it’s because we never learn from our mistakes. We are selfish creatures, primarily seeking our own agenda and not the holy and perfect will of God. We keep attempting to run away, only to be placed back into His love and grace. In fact, we’ve never not been offered this amazing grace, we’re just too dumb and blind to see it right in front of us.

This reminds me of the song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. The phrase in the song, “leaves the ninety-nine,” is such an incredible explanation, or metaphor, for the truth of His desires for us. Ultimately He is willing and able to sacrifice all ninety-nine other sheep to seek just the one out. Luke 15:4-7 reiterates this very concept:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

He longs to find the lost and save those who have strayed. We think we know best, but then He graciously picks us up out of the pit, we dug ourselves, and continues to be a faithful and invested Father. John 10 mentions the fact that the sheep hear and instantly know His voice. This is exactly what I needed to hear. The more we are surrounded by the wisdom of the Lord, the more we are able to hear and discern His voice. We can’t expect to recognize His voice in our lives, let alone comprehend it, if we are not diligently seeking to familiarize ourselves with His character in His written Word.

I challenge you – whatever stage of life you are currently in – accept the herding. Without guidance, distractions will overcome, ignorance will rule, and you’ll never get to your final destination.

Be like sheep. Be herded by Him. Allow Him to rescue you from your own selfish, crazy journeys that you take. He knows what’s best for you at any given point in your life. Be fully committed to being a follower of the One who follows you when you stray consistently. Listen to His voice. Know His voice and learn from it.

Be present and expectant, never doubting whether He will take care of you. If you know His voice, you can know, for certain, that He’s there and you’re safe.

Accept your lack of holy intelligence and place your worries and wonderings at the feet of Jesus, the only one who patiently waits for His ONE lost sheep.