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Ministry and Preparation for Ministry XVI

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Question #1: 

Hello Professor,

How are you sir? Me, I am fine. I would like you to know that I have had assistance from someone in the US. I thank you, sir, very much for your efforts and prayers. Sayuni.co.tz [link] will continue to be online for yet another year.

Concerning the "donate" facility, the two firms I talked with require that Sayuni.co.tz [link] be associated with a business entity or a company before they incorporate that facility. I do not accept this kind of arrangement. So for now I have contacted another firm; I have not had a reply from them yet.

From this week's posted e-mails I gathered that your Latin and Greek classes will continue this coming year. That is great news indeed!

My prayers are with you. In Jesus our Lord,

Response #1: 

That's great news, my friend! I have been wondering about this. I'm very happy to hear that you will remain "on the air".

I'm keeping you in prayer for your agri-business as well.

Thanks for your good wishes too. Yes, plenty of students after all! Thanks for the prayers. It really is an answer to prayer.

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., I certainly understand your reluctance to engage with any entity in any way you feel might compromise your mission and purpose; Ichthys has shied away from such things deliberately as well.

Question #2: 

Dear Bob,

I had to laugh at some of your correspondent's remarks this week about stupid mistakes. If I had a dollar for every stupid mistake I made, I would be rich. It doesn't seem to have gotten better with

More importantly, about email problems: as an email administrator on a large international site years ago, I can assure you that email filtering is alive and well and more sophisticated than you
probably realize. There are so many things a knowledgeable administrator can do to throttle emails. E.g., I didn't allow zip attachments over 10 Mb's. because in those days. spool space wasn't as abundant as it is today. But that's simplistic,

(If programmers don't hate you, you're not doing your job:)

There is at least one and probably more large email sites that filter email for content. Yahoo is one. Verified. Today, it's many things Christian or against anything not politically correct – which seems to be the trend and changes from day to day. I expect it to get worse.

So, for you and your correspondents, don't get too distressed over missing emails. It will get worse, It's one of the reasons I use cryptic subjects, since the subject is one of the easiest to filter.

I think we should get used to this. I hate it, but it's the trend of the times.

I wonder if ancient Israel was more corrupt before going into captivity than we are today?

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #2: 

Thanks for the insight, brother! If this gets worse, or the next time something squirrelly happens that I can't figure out, I'll be sure to ask you. *[n.b., Hotmail is currently blocking all my messages to anyone in the UK]

As to Israel, well, THEY were all supposed to be believers. The problem with all countries today is that they are preserved by the "salt", the remnant of believers; where you have a large population of believers who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing . . .

We'll find out about all that soon enough I reckon'.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill:

Good to hear from you - and, yes, I started to dig into the new study sometime after it was posted when I discovered it at the top of the site. Thank you! I even felt inclined to post some quotes from within on my social media platform. One or two responded but mostly crickets. :/ I'll never stop trying and hoping to engage others in Truth. I always add the link back to Ichthys - it just may prompt some to take a peek without ever saying a word to me. I'm good with that.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers - and your email postings have been so timely for us as you know (i.e. Fighting the Fight). [omitted re: hardships in seeking employment]

In addition, interestingly, we made great traction with ___. We recently presented the plan and received positive and enthusiastic feedback with affirmation to move forward and extend our contract for a minimum of 1-2 more years. However, two days prior to the extension and payment (this past week) they notified us that they need to place us on pause because they have some house-keeping to do with ___ and fleshing out to what degree the liberties we have to execute the plan. This was a another curveball for us.

We found a lease-option to purchase home that checked every box on our prayer list (affordable, in the country which is our ideal yet close to family and airports - one hour in any direction). Truly, a breath of fresh air - and we were ready to negotiate when the notice came regarding the ___ pause. This is where we ask for prayer and wisdom - do we step forward though we don't yet see the stone, or wait for God to usher open the door? God's faithfulness and goodness in my life has seen both ways. Faith says walk, yet wisdom says wait. We are perplexed. Your thoughts are welcomed. [update: our friends found a wonderful home]

We are still "on the road" and are finding ourselves now wanting to get off of it. We truly have been living one day to the next in regards to where we lay our head. You have probably seen via Google Analytics our IP all over the place. Lol - because we have been. So many great experiences in the journey, plus many lessons from the road.

We were grateful to fulfill our twelve months of support commitment to our friend plus provide some free lance work over the course of the year - and our hope is to be able to help him when and as we can. I heard from him last month and replied about two weeks ago but have not yet heard back from him. He shared his possibility to pursue his education and with financial assistance from another in order to do so. We were so happy to hear this news! He is a wonderful young man.

We truly appreciate your prayers and encouragements, Dr. Luginbill. They encourage us greatly. We hope and pray that you and yours are doing well - and we continue to keep you and all that concerns you in our daily prayers.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior -

Response #3: 

Thanks so much for the Ichthys "evangelism". I can tell you that the vast majority of traffic I get on the website never contacts me personally. I'm "good with that" too – this ministry belongs to the Lord, not to me.

I'm sorry to hear that the jobs didn't work out – and also about the "curve ball". I promise to keep that in my prayers.

I haven't heard from our friend in a few days. I know he's been working hard so maybe he's busy. One never knows about the email connection in that country also.

I promise to say a prayer about the living situation – I can't pretend to know the right answer, but the Lord certainly does. We trust Him to work it all out for the good.

Thanks for your positive and godly attitude in the midst of all this "noise and churn", my friend! It's a tonic to me to hear of your stalwart faith and faithfulness, and the love and trust of the Lord that sings through all your words here.

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Dear Professor,

It’s wonderful to hear from you and I would like to wish you a sincere congratulations on completing Bible Basics 6B: Ecclesiology! I really do appreciate you notifying me personally of this.

From the brief synopsis I have read so far, it appears to be a marvellous scholarly writing evoking a much needed depth of truth under the guidance of the Spirit. Praise the Lord for this provision as the end times approach us. I am sincerely looking forward to going through this, especially given how tainted the current meaning of “church” is nowadays as you eloquently highlight in much depth. This also puts Bible Basics one study away from being fully completed if I am not mistaken.

How are you and if you don’t mind me asking, what is in the pipeline following completion of Part 7: Bibliology?

As for me Professor, I would firstly like to apologise for my lack of correspondence. Time escapes me from the fact it’s been so long since I have contacted you. I have been keeping you, your family and your spiritual production in my prayers - and this email is a very timely answer to that.

The business has gone better than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for your daily prayer. The Lord has poured out grace upon grace upon me despite failings, which points all the more to His mercy and grace. This has brought me full circle to a similar realisation that our dear brother experienced. The test of prosperity being infinitely greater a test than that of poverty, for me. From not knowing where my income was going to come from, the Lord provided for me in the most marvellous of ways - to the point where I have had to turn down work. I also managed to graduate from my MSc with distinction, which also coincided with my dissertation just recently being published in a reputable journal. I have since been offered a PhD - and this is something I would like to ask for your guidance and prayer about. The question for me is about maximising time for ministry, with my heart fully set on serving our Lord. This prospective PhD is quite unique in that it is co-funded, and it essentially only requires data collection 3-4 times per year, where the rest of the time I can spend at home writing up my studies, not being required to be at the university. When I thought about this more, I ended up with the prospect where I could drop a lot (most) of the work I currently have, reduce my days per month, since this PhD would take over as my sole secular commitment. It therefore could unlock exponentially more time dedicated towards ministry - so long as I used the time. The issue I have been tussling with in my heart is whether my energy should be better invested in pursuing e.g. the languages vs. obtaining a secular PhD. Professor, I know that in your case your secular teaching has direct overlap with your ministry, whereas in my case it won’t. I am wondering therefore whether this is a wise use of my time, given all the gifts the Lord has gracefully provided me with. I am also aware your role is not to give specific advice, but your insight and prayer would be greatly appreciated as I contemplate this direction.

With all this said, I have decided (as recently as a few weeks ago) to leave London and move to Scotland, to live with my brother. This would break away from my work commitments here, reduce my need to work, and signify my intention to commit wholeheartedly to ministry. If the PhD did materialise I would just have to travel once per month for 3 days of work. The rest can be spent at home, as long as I fulfil my obligatory duties. I hope this can serve as the base of ministry for both my brother and I.

As my “first steps” for ministry, I have been committing to transcribing the lessons from Bible Academy into Word Document. I decided to go ahead after consultation with our friend and with pastor Omo, who encouraged me that there is a real need for it. This has served as both valuable reinforcement of teaching principles, but hopefully an opportunity for these materials to be disseminated in written format. There is also the prospect of verse-by-verse translation to other languages based on the exegesis provided by Curt, which is currently restricted to the English language. Each lesson takes approximately 4h to transcribe, which is a considerable dedication of time, but one I am willing to undergo. I am praying to the Lord for guidance on whether this is His intended path for me, or whether I need to open my heart and eyes further beyond my current spiritual perceptive faculties.

In the meantime, I press on toward the eternal kingdom that awaits us.

In our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #4: 

Thanks for the wonderful update, my friend! I'm thrilled to learn that your business and your professional advancement have been so blessed! And of course you have been putting in the necessary "elbow grease" as we say over here. Good for you!

As to next steps, I'm sure you'll figure out what makes the most sense for you. All options seem to offer great potential. As they say in the French language, it's "an embarrassment of riches". One thing my dad always said about opportunities: "When the plate of cookies comes around, take one if you really want one, because there is no guarantee it'll ever come around again". That has proven to be sage advice in my own life.

Great news about your involvement in Curt's ministry! What a wonderful idea. His teachings are so valuable. And it is true that to have it written out is better for many people (others of course are more benefitted by listening). Having both options is terrific! I didn't see this option last time I went onto his site. Could you direct me to where it's posted?

I heard from your brother about your coming move. Sounds like it will be a really good thing for you both.

As to our friend, I've been having some trouble getting through to his email address [hotmail blocking issue again]. These things happen. Let me know if you've noticed any trouble on that end.

I'm thrilled to see you engaging so earnestly with your preparation, my friend!

BB 7: Bibliology: the Study of the Bible, is indeed the next on the list, but it will take some time. I do plan to make use of that excellent piece you shared with me when I get to that point. [now posted at the link]

Things are going pretty well here at present. I had my research funding restored and am also on the cusp of getting a minor restored in Classical studies. Enrollments are low largely on account of the loss of my colleagues, but things are looking brighter down the road. [update: minor is up and flourishing; enrollments bounced back this fall – thanks to all for your prayers!]

Thanks so much for your prayers! Keeping you and your brother and family in mine day by day as well, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dear Robert,

I was silently confronted with something I read. It is the normal abnormal by those who want to legitimize the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as being merely human. The absence of Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 (Immanuel etc.) and Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 & Isaiah 6:8 (plurality) is amazingly not part of their rhetoric; as some OT references. There is perhaps a different meaning when Elohim is referred to in its plurality intensive frame work?

I will use three NT examples as evidence that Christ is God 1) as voiced by our Lord in John 17:5 regarding being glorified together with the Father which Jesus had before the world was; 2) no human can lay down life and take it up again, other than Christ Jesus (John 10:18), and 3) the Word that was God became flesh (John 1:1, 1:14).

My questions: a) How can this false argument be countered in its simplest form?
b) The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally involved in ALL creation and salvation. Will it be right to deduct that God (Jahweh) to be the sum total of Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Equal in their existence and yet separate?

I trust that the information is detailed enough to enable you to respond.


Response #5: 

In terms of those who deny the deity of Christ leaving out passages in their discourse, well, how could they not and still maintain their position? Old Testament and New, the scriptures clearly teach the deity of Christ (see the link for passages et al., and links to other files).

In terms of 'elohiym, the plural is sometimes actually plural as, for example, in one of the passages you cite, Genesis 1:26; we know that because the verb is plural. Some Jewish scholars want to make that out as YHVH plus the angels resulting in the plural, but angels had nothing to do with creating mankind (clearly) and we are not made in the image of angels (the NT affirms that we are made in God's image: cf. 1Cor.11:7).

As to a), I'm not an apologist; I'm a Bible teacher, so perhaps not the best person to ask about rhetorical effectiveness. It's a valid ministry to have, apologetics that is, but it's my job to put forth the truth without a great deal of concern for people who are not interested in learning it. In the link above (and the links it leads to), you will find some materials apropos of that, however.

As to b), I prefer the traditional formulation: God is one in essence; three in person. I'm always wary about expressing this sacred truth in other ways. Please see the link: The Persons of God: The Trinity (in BB 1).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Please read my last 2 emails...how are Christians to view LGBT+ rights? I know LGBT+ is absolutely sinful, but some people actually claim gays and trans people need to have their rights restricted or even completely revoked for their lifestyle... What's the Biblical position on this?

And also when someone is in grave error spiritually or with Scripture i feel i absolutely have to correct them with what i know to be true (from your teachings of course) otherwise God might judge me for not helping them.

Thank you for reminding me Doc...what do i do with this online community then? It would be a shame to just delete it...

Response #6: 

1) "what do I do with this online community then?" I try not to give people specific advice about particular actions which are applications. As we grow, we learn; we have to get used to making these sorts of decisions for ourselves.

2) "otherwise God might judge me for not helping them." While there is Proverbs 24:11-12, that applies to life and death issues where a person is in direct contact with the individuals going down a demonstrably deadly path. When it comes to perfect strangers on an internet forum, that is decidedly different. If we were to correct everyone we bumped into for every incorrect view they held, we would be doing nothing else . . . right up until the moment they stoned us to death – which wouldn't take long; famous Classics joke: "Socrates was a philosopher who went around giving people advice; they killed him".

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
Matthew 7:6 NKJV

3) On this issue, we live in the devil's world. So stay away from anything political because politics is the devil's game. We believers are not here to fix the world – only God can do that (and He will at the second advent). That, the inclination to bring in the Millennium apart from God, is of the devil, and all groups and organizations which are involved in doing so are, if not in his pocket, at the very least dancing to his tune. There is all manner of sin and evil in the world. Believers are responsible for themselves, not for going out and trying to correct other people, not even our fellow believers unless a valid opportunity for a putting in a fitting word presents itself (Prov.25:11):

"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
Matthew 7:2-5 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Doc...there are times...where i just get tempted so bad i can't control myself no matter how hard i try, and i seem to go into a mad, unstoppable rampage of vile acts in my head...the worst of them too...i don't know what to do Doc... please help me

Doc...i'm scared that there's no way to know the real truth...doesn't everyone have at least a little bias for what they want to believe? If it turns out some other religion is truth...i'll gladly end my life.

Another thing that concerns me is the notion that everyone who truly believes a false worldview...is just choosing to...but how could one see the true God through His creation? It's never made sense to me, even with the Bible's help...I hear people just claim that the true God is made obvious through His creation, but no one ever explains how. I even read your writings on the matter and it just makes even less sense...

Response #7: 

First, as you grow, you will get better at self-control. You do have to fight the fight yourself, but it does get better. Remember: you have the Holy Spirit in you and He is God, more powerful in every way than any obstacle or pressure you face.

But I tell you, walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out what the flesh lusts for.
Galatians 5:16

Second, of course the truth is the truth! You know that deep inside. The evil one is always pressuring our faith. But we grow strong through determining to believe the truth regardless of all nagging doubts, or whatever we see or hear or feel, or our anxious thoughts may think.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Lastly, this life is all about choice. That is why we are here. If we had the slightest idea just how big and powerful God is, we would never have any doubts about His ability to put everyone in the right place. And if we had any idea about how great His love is, we would never have any doubts about the fact that He truly wants all to be saved and has only allowed people to go their own way out of respect for what was really in their hearts. There are NO accidents in the plan of God. After all, the Father paid for the sins of all these people you're worrying about with the blood of the One He loves the most.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 NKJV

If any perish, it really is their own choice. If we don't see it or even if they don't see it, that truth will be revealed "on the day when God will judge the secret things of men through Jesus Christ" (Rom.2:16).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Question: How is that fair? Why would God send someone to Hell for not knowing things they never knew or saw? I don't understand...

Response #8: 

Jesus Christ died for all. We cannot even come close to comprehending what it meant for Him to die for one single sin . . . and He died for them all.

Scripture assures us that God wants all to be saved – and He judged His Son so that all might be. But they have to be willing.

As I have taught repeatedly in this ministry (see the link for the most detailed treatment of this subject), everyone who goes to hell does so of their own free will.  Not that they want to go to hell, but what they decidedly do not want, what they will not do, unless coerced, is submit to the Lord. He doesn't make them. Everyone in hell has exactly what they wanted – eternity without having to obey God. It's just that they wanted all His present blessings to continue while they disobeyed Him, and that is not possible outside of His presence. And the only way to be in His presence in eternity is through the blood of Christ, accepting the Gift of the One who died for us.

Anyone who wants to know, is given to know. Anyone who wants to see, is given to see. Anyone who wants no part of God whatsoever is given what they want as well. It's all about free will.

(24) "The God who made the world and everything in it, He is Lord of heaven and earth. He does not dwell in man-made temples, (25) nor is he waited on by human hands, as if He needed anything from us. He is the One who gives us all life and breath and everything else. (26) From one man he created all the nations of mankind – that they should come to inhabit the whole face of the earth. He fixed and determined the specific times and extent of their habitations, (27) to the end that they should seek out this God, that they might go in search of Him and so might find Him – for He is not far off from any one of us. (28) 'For in Him we live and move and exist', as also some of your own poets have said: 'For we are also His progeny'. (29) Since then we are God's progeny, we ought not to think that deity is similar to [something made of] gold or silver or stone, fashioned by human skill and imagination. (30) So having overlooked the [former] times of ignorance, God now commands all men everywhere to repent. (31) For He has appointed a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness through the Man He has ordained, having given proof of this to all through having raised Him from the dead."
Acts 17:24-31

God is not unfair. God IS justice itself. Do not ever think otherwise, and if ever in any doubt, look to the cross and remember that Jesus died for these ungrateful people.

There's plenty more about all this in BB 4B: Soteriology.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Your message made me scared again that maybe i'm not saved...i'm not blaming you or saying you said anything wrong...it's just that if i doubt God on such crucial things so much, can i really call myself a believer? Sorry for bugging you with this again.

Response #9: 

Knowing that God loves you so much ought to reassure you, not frighten you.

As you grow, you learn to balance reverence, a healthy respect or "godly fear" of the Lord with confidence in His amazing grace, mercy and love for us.

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:8-13 NKJV

Like the new driver who weaves all over the road, eventually we learn to keep to our lane.

Just keep growing.

Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:13b KJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Doc i don't know if i can ever even start...I just can't bring myself to do it...like i'm scared of leaving behind my old life...but i know it only brings destruction and abominations...I keep wanting to redeem the things i love, even if i know it might not be God's Will. Am i truly with the wrong motivations for that?

Response #10: 

If you read the Psalms, you will see the writers struggling with their inner thoughts all the time – but they come back to spiritual center through reminding themselves of important truths.

If a person had everything they wanted in this life, what does it matter, given that death takes everything away?

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, 'This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' " But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God."
Luke 12:16-21 NKJV

On the other hand, any reward we earn by following the Lord is for all eternity.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

Take my advice: work on this one day at a time. No one ever climbed Everest at a single bound. They did it one painful step at a time. Same is true of spiritual growth.

So try taking just one step – today.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Thank you Doc...I believe anyone can be redeemed if they want to change for the better and follow God...Paul was a literal serial killer specifically of believers, and yet he became one of the best Christians to ever live...And then there's Manasseh, who was one of the most evil rulers of the ancient world, even he was forgiven when he repented...he's also an example of how even if you repent and have your relationship with God restored, it won't undo the consequences of sin in your life...I'm ashamed of many things i've done, some much more than others. How do i forgive MYSELF for such things? If God wants us to forgive others, we should forgive ourselves right?

Doc i've been reading conspiracy theory stuff and i'm scared...if so much that i thought to be able to be used for good, almost everything in fact. is actually inherently evil and occult, and there are so many vile things behind litterally everything. It's not fair if i can't have a world where i can just grow in Christ for just a few years, just a few years before the Tribulation, without being constantly endangered by cultists and elitists...

Doc please read my last 2 emails...im scared again...i was so mad at God because i was convinced of all these horrible conspiracy theories, that He let so much evil rule the entirety of His world, that i told Him in my heart that i denounce Him...I realize that was foolish now, and want to go back to Him...i remembered that everything that happens has a purpose, even if these conspiracies are true, He lets them happen for a greater purpose that we can't possibly understand this side of Heaven...can i be forgiven for this or am i apostate beyond hope?

Response #11: 

Two things. First, as 1st John 1:9 makes very clear, God forgives us our sins whenever we confess them. All believers are saved, as you know. The only unpardonable sin is failure/refusal to recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Secondly, you will find that if you are moving forward, you are going to spend less time moving sideways and backwards. Analogously, if you are NOT moving forward, not doing/saying/thinking the things you should be, then moving sideways and backwards is only a matter of time.

As mentioned before, sometimes believers who have a good heart and who really do want to amount to something for the Lord spend a lot of wasted time zigzagging. Of course this will affect how one feels about oneself and one's relationship with the Lord – negatively. So it's like the fellow with the hammer who kept hitting himself in the head when asked why he did it said, "Because it feels so good when I stop". Clearly, not doing it in the first place would be better.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Hey Doctor Luginbill,

Do you think God is displeased when we says things like "Lord have mercy" (not to Him directly, but more like, to the air) when things happen, or things like that? Or would that be taking His name in vain? I wasn't sure if He might think it as the same as saying "oh my God" when something happens. Sometimes I do it almost just to bring God in to things. Modern society is so god-less I feel.

Hope you are well (are you?),

Response #12: 

Using the Lord's Name as a throw-away interjection certainly bothers me. That's different from bringing Him into the conversation as a witness and to show that He is the One about whom you are really concerned.

Having a good "mental health day" here courtesy of the calendar.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hey buddy, I was wondering if you could recommend me any resources for Christian apologetics. Any books or other websites you could suggest? What is a good place to start when it comes to apologetics? I feel the need to be more equipped in today's world with information that can be used to defend the Lord and His Word. Thanks man.

Response #13: 

Don't have any books to recommend, but if you study the techniques used by my good friend Odii (at the link, especially the Q/A's at the bottom of the page), you can't help but get some very helpful insights. I've learned a lot from his methods.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Dr. Luginbill,

Unfortunately, I'm sure there will always be people like that out there - ignoring the obvious truth in favor of a traditional doctrine. I really appreciate your patience in explaining the "ins and outs" of Acts 2:38 to me. I've been slowly writing a paper on the subject of baptism, addressing each verse on the subject. It's primarily for my own benefit, as I'm a bit of a visual learner and it makes it easier to "connect the dots".

I think that through our conversations and my studies, I'm finally grasping the "big picture" of the doctrine of baptism. The doctrine of the baptism of the Spirit makes far more sense than anything I have been taught over the years. Many thanks to you for your contributions on the subject.

On a completely different subject, I have something else I wanted to ask you about. I've been a bit hesitant to discuss it with anyone as it seems kind of laughable. Despite the apparent silliness, it's been bugging me quite a bit for the last few years.

When I was around teenage there was a period where I was spending a large amount of my free time on the internet, mostly playing video games, etc. I felt very guilty about it, but at the time I didn't have much else to do in my leisure time. It got to the point that I felt so badly about it that one day I prayed and said "I'll stop wasting my time online all the time - I'll only use the internet three times a day". At the time it seemed like a reasonable plan to reduce my internet usage.

However, as time has passed, this incident has really bothered me. Where I am in life currently makes it difficult if not impossible to only use the internet "three times a day", as it is required for both college and my job on a very regular basis. Over the last few years, I've accumulated quite a bit of guilt about the issue. I've thought about it a lot, and I honestly do not know if I originally intended the "three times a day" to be a temporary or lifelong thing. For the life of me, I can't remember what exactly my intentions were - if I considered it a permanent commitment or not.

In retrospect, I realize that making such promises to God is not exactly the greatest idea - per James and Christ Himself. I feel like I'm in a trap, bound to something that's nearly impossible to carry out.

Obviously, the main thing I care about is honoring God and doing the right thing, but in this scenario I really don't know what the right thing actually is. It's really been bothering me, as the last thing I want to do is to dishonor the Lord through my actions. I know the whole thing seems kind of petty and silly, but it's where I'm at currently. I'm at the point now where I can't use the internet at all without a looming feeling of dread that I might be violating some sort of lifelong commitment.

As strange/silly/laughable as the situation may sound, I sure would appreciate any input you might have about it for me. I really don't know exactly what I should do about it, and it's caused me quite a bit of anxiety and guilt.

God's blessings,

Response #14: 

As we grow spiritually, we learn to live the Christian life one day at a time, "forgetting what lies behind" as the apostle Paul counsels us (Phil3:13). We've all made mistakes. If we've sinned, the Lord forgives us when we confess (1Jn.1:9). Nonetheless, every Christian has "baggage"; learning how to put that behind us and move forward resolutely for the Lord is the stuff of spiritual maturity. So with all such problems, the best way to tackle them is not on a symptomatic basis; rather they need to be addressed as part of a total life solution: commitment to daily spiritual growth on a broad front.

I'm happy to have you make use of Ichthys in this pursuit, my friend, and I promise to say a prayer for you about this.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I apologize for the delay in responding - it's been yet another hectic weekend piled with schoolwork.

I truly appreciate your prayers about this subject, it means a lot to me. I realize now that it was a mistake, and I've prayed about it numerous times. It's not something I plan on repeating again - I understand now why Christ taught that vows are a bad idea. It seems that a lot of times we tend to overestimate what is possible for us to do.

I guess that what you are saying is that I should just repent and move on? I've prayed about it so much, but I just can't seem to shake the guilty feeling. I'm a bit OCD about things like this and sometimes I feel like it's harder for me to forgive myself than it is for God.

God's blessings for this new week,

Response #15: 

The Bible counsels us to "forget what lies behind" (Phil.3:13), and makes very clear that we are entirely forgiven when we turn away from our sins and confess them to the Lord (Ps.32:5; 1Jn.1:9). One thing about life is very clear: we are given one day at a time only and we are supposed to live that day and not worry about tomorrow (Matt.6:34) or yesterday. We don't know if we will have a tomorrow and we cannot change anything about yesterday. It is a terrible trap for a believer to keep tying him/herself up into knots on account of yesterday's failures. All that accomplishes is to hamstring our performance today. Repent. Confess. Move on. And be determined to fight a good fight for the Lord going forward . . . starting today.

The apostle Paul orchestrated the murder, imprisonment, torture and severe abuse of many Christians . . . before he repented and accepted Jesus Christ. If anyone had a reason to look back with paralyzing regret it was he, but I don't see that in anything he says or does in scripture. He accepted his failures but wouldn't let them color his present day. All the great believers of the Bible were human and had failures, sometimes spectacular ones. But the really great ones moved on from these, pretty much immediately.

Jesus Christ is bigger than our sins. He died for them all.

In our dear Master and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Dr. Luginbill:

Sir, hope this email finds you well and that your New Year is off to that you had hoped for. As you know, our world is on the brink of a total melt down, however Jesus clamed there will be rumors of wars and not be dismayed. Of course I am simplifying his words.

So it has been a while since we last talked. I have not worked at all on my Pride book, and how it related directly to sin, etc. I did write three outdoor articles about hunting and fishing and had those published. Nothing to brag about.

For awhile now I have considered on getting a Masters Degree, in what, have no clue! I am writing to you in hopes that within your wisdom you might be able to help out a fellow Marine? With me having an extensive security background to include everything from nuclear security to PSD operations in Iraq I have considered getting a degree or dual degrees. Preferably something along the lines of cyber security, homeland security, accounting, forensic psychology, religious studies (world religion, for profiling of other religions) geospatial intelligence, something within the scope of the degrees I have mentioned. My goal is to get on with a private firm as a cleared contractor.

I just turned 50 at the end of December however I am still able to run like the wind and out pull-up all the 17 year old fat bodies. As I feel time ticking away, I can not help but to feel my own identity slipping to some degree and this inner sense that time is now my enemy. I'm sure you have been there at some point in your life?

If you were me, what would you do or what approach would you take? As always I appreciate the conversation and advice!

Semper Fi,

Response #16: 

Good to hear from you – and here's wishing you and yours a blessed 2020!

You're certainly an accomplished individual!

I really hate giving advice and rarely do so, except in general terms. If it were me, I would do what I always do and "reverse plan". What is the objective – really and specifically? And then how does one best get there?

There's not a lot of time left, and while I generally abhor hymns, the old Baptist one that goes "only one life, will soon be passed; only what's done for Christ will last" is right on the money with that lyric. For me, I would rather have the smallest additional heavenly reward from the Master than all the worldly success there is.

We do have to live here in the world, so I'm not advocating monasticism. But whatever we do to make ends meet in this world, as followers of Jesus Christ that is best kept in second place to what is really important.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Dear Prof, how are you doing sir. I know God is answering our prayers concerning you! I'm doing better too.

I have come again with my questions! This may be a strange one. I need to be more focused in my life. Especially at this my age where I've wasted most of it and have not done much for the Lord. You've known about me for a little while and I believe the Holy Spirit would have also made you to know me as He does to born again believers especially teachers like you. God has used you to do a miraculous (in my eyes) work in my life. Now I think - while I'm still learning, moving with ichthys engine so to speak, and trying to pass the tests that come my way, - I need more focus. If I'm wrong, of course you will enlighten me or shoot me in the right direction.

Sir, what is my gift and ministry?! Please don't think it strange! I'm not so quick on the uptake. I'm not expecting you to say categorically without question or doubt but I can know the direction. Based on what I've been doing I have an idea but it seems so narrow and limited so to speak. It has been rolling in my head to even start a radio program -as soon as I get some expected funds- to warn of the impending danger (to believers and unbelievers) but I must be sure. When I wake up in the morning I want to know what I'm about in terms of ministry and address it squarely. I know that as one grows and applies ones self to God and His word, it becomes more discernible. Maybe I'm trying to circumvent the normal process!

I've been praying about this but I think I have not made much headway. I just wake up, trust God for the day and the people I will meet. If I'm sure, I can tailor my life along such pattern (study, where to emphasize etc) so that I will not be unproductive and ineffective for the Lord. I just ask Him not to task me with learning languages! LOL.

But seriously I want your counsel.

Thank you sir

Response #17: 

Please don't be distressed at not having a road-map in triplicate about the future. None of us gets that. The Spirit reveals things a bit at a time. When I left the USMC to pursue a Bible teaching ministry, believe me, I had NO idea what that would entail. And at the time (1979), not only was there no internet – there were no personal computers yet. So if I had waited around for things to develop, I certainly would have waited too long. I knew I needed to know certain things to teach the Bible, so I devoted myself to learning them, and the rest fell into place in all manner of ways I could never have come close to predicting.

You love the truth, you know a great deal about it, and you are clearly very good at communicating it. So my advice would be to pursue spiritual growth aggressively (which we should all be doing anyway), and whatever else you feel led to do as adjunct skills for that communication . . . and leave it to the Spirit to reveal the appropriate opportunities when they come open. God uses prepared people – so continue to prepare! That is about all any of us can do.

"I just ask Him not to task me with learning languages!" – be careful what you wish for.

There is more about this issue in the "Ministry and Preparation for Ministry" series of postings (link is to the latest one).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Do you have any idea what my spiritual gifts might be? It is okay if you say you don't know.

Response #18: 

As to figuring out spiritual gifts, this is pretty difficult for anyone but the recipient to know for certain – until we see someone operating with/in the gift(s), but of course by then it's long been known to the recipient as well.

You are very intelligent, you have developed language skills, and you have special insight into disability as well as former abuse. While the latter two may seem (and may be) disadvantages, we don't want to minimize the fact that by surviving them and thriving in spite of them you have a lot of valuable perspectives to offer others who are struggling.

So I suppose what I am doing here is seeing ways you could help the Body of Christ and intuiting that since you have these assets, you probably also have gifts that match them.

As we've probably discussed before, while the Bible lists certain specific gifts, the combination of gifts we receive and the "flavors" of them are unique to every Christian – because God has a plan for each of our lives individually.

I think if you begin thinking about ministry and where and how you'd like to contribute (which results in eternal rewards, of course), then you will see the best way to do so according to what you know you have personally in the way of more particular internal, spiritual strengths – which are gifts of course.

And lest we forget, personal spiritual growth is a pre-req for all effective ministry.

Lots more about this in BB 5 (at the link).

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., apologies in advance for the brevity – first day of classes tomorrow.

Question #19: 

Hello Bob,

I completely agree with everything you wrote and I have more to add besides!

I know now why this is all happening. This is my ministry! My ministry is to minister to people who have been narcissistically abused or have been abused in general, that is why I have had the life I have had. I now also realise that I can minister to people in cults too as they operate EXACTLY like narcissistic family cults do also!

I have had the life I have had here for two reasons 1) that the suffering would make me realise that I needed rescuing by a perfect, loving and all powerful God. I then also realised that compared to that God who rescued me from that suffering from abuse, that I am not perfect like He is, that I am sinner who needs salvation. 2) once saved I now have the truth but also I have been given an unique ministry based upon my lifetime experiences. Due to my life experiences I have become an expert within a certain field.

Although there are as many ministries as there are people they all fall within two distinct categories
1) REVEALING the deeper TRUTH of scripture and God (your ministry)
2) EXPOSING the LIES of Satan (my ministry)

After all, all there is here is either the truth or the denial of that truth through a myriad of lies.

I have realised life has been carefully superintended by God to train me up for my ministry just as you have been for yours.
God has given you the opportunities and time and resources to make you an expert in the truth so that you can teach it to others.
Likewise, God has given me the experience and exposure to the mechanics of Satan's lies up close so I have become an expert on his deception so I can expose the lies and refute them in light of the truth I have learned from your ministry!

The light of truth of Jesus Christ which shines through the Word which is taught through your ministry, exposes the darkness of the lies of Satan that I have been exposed to all of my life!

It's amazing because I can now see God's hand in ALL of my life! I see the exact same abuse throughout my life that has had a pattern to it. Behind this abuse is Satan. The abusers has listened to Satan lies and not only believed them but have been shaped by them! So I've realised that I not only can minister and witness to people who have been abused but also abusers too! Praise the Lord!

People who write to your ministry forlorn and feeling unsure what their ministry is and yet their ministry will be STARING THEM IN THE FACE.

It will be whatever has been the constant trend in their life which also undoubtably will be the false idol or lie they worshipped before they became saved!

So ex new Agers should witness and minister to new Agers.
Ex Catholics to Catholics.
Ex homosexuals to homosexuals.
Ex alcoholics to alcoholics.
Ex abuse victims to abuse victims and abusers (but obviously an ex abuser would be a better minister to abusers than an ex victim would be!)

So when people come to you Bob and they greatly benefit from your ministry but then feel sad that they are not an expert on languages and the Bible that is because that is not their ministry or gift! Not all of us our pastor teachers. If God has not given them obvious promptings to study languages and gifted them with expert knowledge of the Word like you have then it is obvious that is not God's will for them! So I know you love languages and you are an expert on them but you have had a lifetime to study them and also the Word. It would be a waste of rapidly diminishing time to try to do it now if a person has not been prompted towards it earlier in their life.

So the people in your ministry who have not been given the lifetime opportunities, time and exposure and spiritual gifts to reveal the truth of Scripture have instead been given the experience, exposure and in depth knowledge and spiritual discernment to expose Satan's lies!

So knowing this everyone in your ministry can very quickly see what there ministry is! What they have been called to do! It was what preoccupied their life BEFORE they were saved! You were saved at an early age Bob so God made it clear through this that HE wanted you to be saved as soon as possible, opened doors for you to train you up in the truth, gave you all the spiritual gifts necessary to build up your ministry and gave you a job that paid well enough for your material needs so you wouldn't need a brick and mortar 501c church were you would inevitably have to compromise on the Word! Praise the Lord for His matchless wisdom and provision!

In contrast to this I have been saved much later in life and had a lifetime of study of Satan's lies. The only way I COULD be trained to become an expert in his deceptions was to have a lifetime of exposure to them and to believe in them myself.

I would then go so far as to say that if a person was not saved at a young age and had the kind of door opening and opportunities that you have had then it is very unlikely that they are a Pastor Teacher.

You have said yourself that you were blessed to have had a solid Christian upbringing with loving parents. God gave you these things because this is the BASIS OF YOUR MINISTRY.

In contrast I had a rocky life and unstable parenting and brought up in a cult (Catholic Church) and God gave me these things as the BASIS OF MY MINISTRY.

How wonderful is that!

Genesis 50:20
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Please publish this email Bob! It is not only the most important message I have ever sent to you but also the most I have ever written!

In Jesus, who uses all things to bring about His perfect purpose!

Response #19: 

God does have it all in hand, and nothing is accidental. Once we get a grip on that, we can start to see how merciful He has been to us, how good and gracious and forgiving and loving, and how everything has been falling into place for us, in spite of "us". That is indeed the place to start in navigating the discernment of our spiritual gifts.

One caveat: the Tribulation is likely to bring on many unique opportunities for ministry even as it brings on unique troubles. The speed at which things will develop may also very well speed up the development of personal ministries as well as of responses on behalf of the small number of individuals who respond to these pressures in the correct way, turning to God as a result (whether being saved or shedding their Laodicean proclivities). So I would never sell anyone short on any ministry the Spirit is prompting them to follow. There may not be time to learn languages and build a systematic theology from the ground up – but if a person knows these truths (benefiting from Ichthys or some other solid ministry), that person may indeed be called upon to share his knowledge in a pastor-teacher role.

I'll be sure to publish this the next time I do a "ministry" posting.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20: 


Response #20: 

Thanks for the prayers, my friend! Feeling today like it's coming along. Fighting off some sort of ear infection now it seems. Hope the ankle is continuing to mend.

"How does a person know what their gift is? How can they say for absolute certain?" Good questions, and I get them often.

The first thing I always say is that we actually all have "cocktails" of gifts which are unique to us. We don't fit necessarily cookie-cutter-like into neat categories. Even though we are both pastor-teachers, Ichthys is different from Bible Academy just as my combination of gifts is different from Curt's. We were motivated by the Spirit and our love for the Lord to teach the Word and we were lead to quite different ways of doing it – ways that mesh well with our gifts.

Teaching the Word, sharing the Word, encouraging with the Word, whatever a Christian is led to do for the Church of Christ, will result in the Lord opening an opportunity at the right time and in the right way, or possibly over time it will become clear that "what I've been doing all along is ministry". But it's not necessarily profitable to be worrying about specific gifts. A better approach is to get prepared – God only uses prepared people for anything substantial – and be flexible and open to the guidance of the Spirit. If some specific ministry opportunity or method or manner or venue of doing what a person feels they are fit to do opens up or is "out there", then the Lord is able to help us see it through the Spirit, prepare for it and eventually engage in it. And "it" is most often not any sort of "it" we might have imagined as ministry at the beginning of the process – not if it is a truly divinely inspired and empowered "it" (that's my experience at any rate).

For what it is worth, I consider you a wonderfully gifted person – in evangelism, encouragement, faith, perseverance, prayer, teaching and a good many other things. It's a great "cocktail" you've got! And it is uniquely you. It qualifies you to do all sorts of things. What precisely you end up focusing on down the road is something that will open up in due time. But know that you are already ministering "according to your gifts". You've helped this ministry considerably. You have been an encouragement to me and many others. You have spread the Word throughout your extensive personal circle. You have reached out to other believers with the truth in an attempt to teach them the right way. And you have been remembering us all before the Throne of Grace. This is great stuff! Trying to put it into a pigeon-hole won't make it any better than it already is.

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ!

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #21: 


Response #21: 

Yes, I'm doing better. Spent all day working on income tax so didn't get out to exercise at all (a cold windy day and little sleep last night, so maybe just as well what with all the students getting sick as is usual this time of year).

By all means get the x-ray. In grad school while jogging I twisted my ankle on the roadside where the shoulder had eroded away and I wasn't paying proper attention to the footing. It hurt pretty bad so I went to a sports' medicine clinic and they did x-ray and come to find out a tiny little bone was broken. But that was enough to make sure it would never have healed unless I went on crutches for six weeks. Which I did. Still remember what a great pain that was (not nearly so bad as the three months when I had my other ankle crushed). When your auto starts making clicking noises, it's never a good sign; that's true of the old sack-of-bones too.

It's a great perspective to hold onto. The Spirit is in us. And the Spirit is God. Is there really anything we imagine He couldn't do? Is there any opposition or resistance or temptation that is beyond His power? It's ridiculous to even pose the questions. So if we are not, e.g., persevering, it's because we're really not listening to Him and giving ourselves over unto His leadership, power and encouragement to the degree that we should be doing. He is the parakletes, the One who guides, helps, comforts, empowers – but only with our cooperation.

Keep up the good work! The Lord is using you now and I'm certain that this will continue, all the way to victory.

Thanks for the prayers!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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