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Warren Cole Smith: The Colson Center

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston welcomes guest Warren Cole Smith, vice president of Mission Advancement at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. A seasoned writer and Christian leader, Smith shares what he’s learned by working in publications and ministry, and as a husband and father.

Reflecting on his career path, he reminisces about educational and vocational choices along the way. He advises, “Go through the door that’s open in front of you. Every step of the way I was learning, growing, and developing. Praying and getting counsel has been really important in helping me know what the right next step was.”

Smith says he pursued his passions and found that doing what God put on his heart was a blessing to others too. “Books had an impact on me; they moved me, instructed me, and discipled me,” he says. “You really have to be discerning about what God is calling you to and match that up.”

In his book, “Restoring All Things: God’s Audacious Plan to Change the World Through Everyday People,” Smith and his co-author, John Stonestreet, give examples of God working through regular people in extraordinary ways.

“Someone once told me that the Bible was written by three murderers: Moses, David, and Paul,” Smith says. “You might think that what you’ve done makes you unfit for service, but listen, God only uses broken vessels. We wanted to motivate an army of little platoons – men and women in their local communities who are doing work for the Kingdom. We are all called to some aspect of God’s great restoration work in the world.”

With other people and with one’s family members, Smith says that humility goes a long way. “Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry,” he says. “I think it enhances our credibility when we’re able to say, ‘I don’t have all the answers.’”


Warren SmithWarren Cole Smith is vice president of Mission Advancement at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. An inspired writer, he is an author, co-author, and editor. Smith is also a speaker and radio personality.

Jerry B. Jenkins and Craig Evans: Dead Sea Rising

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston hosts special guests, the author and contributor of “Dead Sea Rising: A Novel,” a fictional story with a backdrop of accurate archeology. Dr. Jerry B. Jenkins collaborated with Dr. Craig Evans, a New Testament scholar, in the telling of the story.

Jenkins says, after becoming a Christian at an early age, he felt a calling for Christian ministry. He thought initially it would be in a traditional role such as a pastor, but he used his writing expertise instead to tell the story of the Gospel in untraditional ways. “Dead Sea Rising” is his 195th book; his titles have been on the New York Times bestselling list more than 20 times.

“I can exercise my gift and see results that evangelists and pastors see,” Jenkins says.

Although he has been broadly successful, Jenkins notes that his measure of accomplishment is different than it is for most authors. “It’s not about good reviews, sales and royalty checks,” he says. “To me, success is obedience. I obey by fulfilling that call.”

Jenkins says, “People listen to stories; they might or might not listen to a lecture or read an academic book, but they’ll read a story. I always teach writers that an article or a book should always be more than just about something – it should have a purpose – and the purpose is to see the truth.”

Jenkins says his work with Dr. Evans on the recent story was especially meaningful because Evans was able to provide solid, historical information and contextual guidance for the adventure story.

Evans emphasizes, “Real archeology is exciting too. You don’t have to distort it. It involves all kinds of crazy things. You can tell exciting, fictional stories and yet still be accurate.”

In the show, Dr. Johnston answers several questions through AskJJJ.com from listeners about the nature of God, the afterlife and even about having curiosity as a Christian.

“God loves you, and you can stand blameless because of the work Jesus did for you on the cross,” Dr. Johnston says.


Jerry JenkinsJerry B. Jenkins is a renowned Christian novelist, celebrated for books including the “Left Behind” series. As a New York Times bestselling author, he also helps aspiring writers become successful. Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University. As a New Testament scholar, he has been called upon to contribute in many and academic projects.

 

Unanswered: The #1 Reason People Leave The Faith

 

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston broaches the sensitive topic of suffering in his message. “All of us have had experiences of suffering in our lives,” he says. “How do we even begin to understand all the promises that God has made to His people, and then we see all the problems God’s people experience?”

He points to Paul’s heart outpouring in 2 Corinthians 1. Paul writes in verses 8 and 9, “We do not want you to be uniformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.”

Johnston says the takeaway for modern believers is:

  • I can and should be honest about my problems and pain
  • I come to know God better through my pain and suffering
  • My response to suffering determines my future
  • I do not suffer in vain; God’s plan and blessings are not cancelled by my trials

“God works in different ways; it’s our job to trust Him,” Johnston says. “Only when our circumstances exceed our ability to handle them do we really trust God.” As Paul concludes in the passage, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”

Johnston continues the conversation with Dr. Craig Evans, the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University. Evans, a distinguished scholar and author, contrasts the pre-Christian and post-Christian worlds. “Where faith takes hold, societal standards go up. That’s the change that Jesus brought,” he says.

While the Bible does not promise deliverance from every dark situation, it does offer assurance of God’s presence, the two men conclude. Ultimately, suffering with the knowledge of God’s goodness and in dependence upon him is more meaningful than living on one’s own apart from His divine grace.

 

Unanswered: A Bible-ish Christianity

 

Today’s believers, especially in the United States, have an incredible amount of resources from which to choose, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. “Bibles and Bible-related materials is a $2.5 billion business in the United States, and yet Christians are increasingly illiterate when it comes to the Bible,” he says. “We have to stop giving lip-service and get in the pages.”

For Johnston, a new appreciation for Scripture came when he studied the early manuscripts while he was a student at the University of Oxford. “When we think about the Bible we have today, it’s an absolute miracle that we even have it,” he says. “The Bible is the best-seller of all time, and yet most Christians don’t know enough about it. If we really believe it’s God’s Word, shouldn’t we pay it a little more respect by getting to know the stories and the amazing adventure of how the Bible came to be?”

Making daily Bible reading a set habit can serve as a guardrail for one’s life, Johnston says, guiding a Christian into obedience, conviction and God’s will. “Have you noticed how confused you can become when you get away from God’s will for your life?” he asks. “It’s amazing how the fog of life lifts when you’re committed to the lamp of God’s truth.”

The Bible is good for a person’s whole being, as said in Jeremiah 15:16: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight…”

As well as reading the Bible, Christians should understand that their lives are also a representation of the Gospel, Johnston says. He encourages the faithful to write out their testimonies and share a transformed life with those around them.