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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.

Unanswered: Is Paranormal the New Normal?

  

Fascination with the paranormal is not something that’s on the fringes of society, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. Instead, dabbling in the darkness has become a cultural phenomenon evidenced in things like scary movies, psychic consultations and witchcraft.

            “Human beings are spiritual beings,” Johnston says. “We hunger for the spiritual, but when we’ve sent God out the door, we mock the Christian faith. We buy into the lies and become entrapped and confused.”

            Johnston illustrates the prevailing confusion by pointing out that some psychics and others working in the paranormal industry claim to be Christians. “The paranormal is a slippery slope,” Johnston says. “Once you open the door to the spirit world, it will only affect your life negatively.”

            Johnston says that Christians must compare what they see in the world with the truth of God’s Word. He gives these points:

  1. We need to recognize that the paranormal is attractive and has become normal in our society.
  2. It preaches a false gospel, makes promises it can’t keep, and will always bring the participant into bondage and confusion.
  3. Only Jesus Christ can set us free. Only in Him can each of us experience lasting peace and can know the truth.

Believers are instructed in I John 4:1 to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Also, they are instructed in I Timothy 4:7: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

Johnston warns that the things God forbids can seem appealing. “How do we respond to the fascination – and even attraction – with the paranormal world around us?” he asks.

Johnston reminds listeners that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and that we are to be sober-minded since “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).

He answers a question from Jaden through AskJJJ.com about doubting one’s salvation. Johnston reminds him that when believers have thoughts that don’t align with the Bible, we can “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

What Christians must understand about Suicide and Mental Health

 

Radio show host, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, opens the show with a question for
listeners: “What is the most important apologetics question of our time?”

He says, “The Church has an amazing opportunity right now. If the Church can articulate an answer to this question in a biblically powerful way, this could be the key to unlocking a serious revival in our Church.”

Many people in the Church struggle with mental illness either personally or through the connection of a loved one. The number one question that Christian Thinkers Society receives revolves around suicide and mental health.

“I want to equip you and help you minister to people who are hurting,” Johnston says. He says that, 1) Christians should stop the silence surrounding mental illness, 2) we must stop the shame and exclusion, and 3) we need to understand mental illness and be present.

Johnston gives examples of Christians who have struggled with mental illness in history and today. Yet, most pastors rarely, if ever, address mental health. “Mental illness is no one’s fault,” he says. He draws parallels between common physical infirmities and mental ones.

“Do you know the Bible has a lot to say about mental health, right thinking, loving God, and training our mind?” Johnston asks.

Mark 2:17 “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Johnston advises Christians with these thoughts: 1) Every family struggles, 2) make a commitment to love instead of judge, condemn, and misunderstand, 3) build support groups for every age level for addressing mental health disorders, and 4) encourage the mentally ill in our church communities to serve.

Selma asks through AskJJJ.com if it is alright for a Christian to help a person end his or her life. Johnston tells her that God is the controller of all life. “It is terrible to watch people we know and love suffer,” he says. “But when people suffer, you never know how God is using the suffering to win other people to Jesus Christ.”

 

Unanswered: Body of Proof – Evidence for the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity, and has been since the earliest days of the faith. Followers of Christianity do not have to take the bodily resurrection of Jesus on faith alone, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston.

 “The claim that Jesus was truly resurrected assumed a heavy burden of proof. What persuaded Jesus’ followers to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was their conviction that Jesus had died, had been buried in a known place, and had exited that place,” he says. “These factors, in combination with His appearances, convinced His followers that Jesus was indeed the bodily resurrected messiah.”
Early believers had little to gain in their society and everything to lose for believing in the risen Lord. Jesus was a pariah in both Roman and Jewish cultures. Yet, His resurrection gave proof that He was Lord, and that followers of Christ could experience eternal life as well. John 14:19: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
  Johnston says, “I have great news for you today. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives, and there are great evidences for that belief.”
 He advises that 1) we must recover a resurrection-centric faith, 2) we should refresh our minds with evidence of the resurrection, and 3) we should recommit to live the mission of the resurrection.
“No matter what life throws at you, the resurrection promises that God is a God of new beginnings,” Johnston says. “The resurrection changes everything.”
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to disciples and followers changed the course of history, and Christianity continues to influence the world for good. The hope that is found through Jesus is the basis for the Gospel. Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (I Corinthians 15:14). He goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).
“Wherever you’re at, I pray this program equips you with evidence for the faith,” says Johnston. “Let the power of the resurrection fuel you this Christmas season to be bold for your faith.”

Unanswered: What do we do when God seems silent?

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston explores the concept of God’s silence and its impact on our faith. In his Bible study, book and video series, “Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions,” he seeks to provide meaningful responses to the questions that many hold.

 “Just because you become a follower of Jesus does not mean that the questions stop,” he says. “After more than 10 years of serving as one of the pastors and teachers at a vibrant, local church, I began to notice that we had sincere Christians who still did not possess the confidence to answer the tough questions about Christianity. Many believers struggle with their own big questions about their faith.”

One of the most pressing questions Johnston has observed and personally dealt with is, “How do we respond when it seems like God is on mute?” Johnston’s takeaways are 1) God’s silence is real, biblical personal, common and not always bad; 2) when the silence is real, a person should saturate himself in the Psalms; and 3) silence should always lead me to a “stone of remembrance.”

He refers to the example of Jesus in agony on the cross. Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Just as Jesus did, we can turn to the Psalms as well in our pain. Johnston also points to biblical figures who endured times of waiting on God, including Joseph and David. “Remind yourself that some of the tallest figures of the Bible persevered right through God’s silence,” Johnston says.

In addition to internal trials, believers often face external challenges to their faith in the form of cultural pressure. Johnston says, “Here is culture’s message: ‘There is no God; there is nothing special about Jesus and He wasn’t raised from the dead.’” Christians must understand their faith and be able to defend it.

He welcomes Brian Daniel of Lifeway Christian Resources who expounds upon the importance of studying the Christian faith. “In terms of taking the message and making it part of who you are and facilitating transformation, we believe that group Bible study and group ministry are the best vehicles for that,” Daniel says.


Brian DanielBrian Daniel is a manager of Groups Publishing at Lifeway Christian Resources. He helps facilitate effective content creation for reading and study by Christians and within churches.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd: How Prayer Can Revive Our Nation

 

 
 Dr. Ronnie Floyd and Dr. Jeremiah Johnston discuss the importance of prayer and individual relationships with God. “The country is broken because families are broken. Relationships are broken because we’re individually broken,” Floyd says. “We really have to take this on spiritually.”
 
  In his latest book, “Living Fit: Make Your Life Count By Pursuing a Healthy You,” Floyd explores what he calls the five gauges of life: spiritual, physical, relational, financial and emotional. “We need to deal with the gauges and not wait until they are off,” he says. “We need to look at them every day.”
 
 A key part of maintaining health is to know the Word of God, Johnston says.
 
Philippians 2:5 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
 
 
 Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
 
 
 “There is psychological warfare and there is a battle raging for your mind,” Johnston says. “So many of the devil’s schemes are when the enemy plants thoughts in our minds that do not square with who we know we are in Christ. I can’t know the mind of Christ without knowing the Word of God.”

Floyd affirms the centrality of Scripture. “Begin your day with God,” he says. “That is the most valuable thing you can do in your life spiritually. God shows you brand new things all the time. The more I’m in His Word, the more I hear His voice.”

Knowing the Bible helps a person filter through things in culture such a horoscopes, haunted houses and psychics, Johnston says. He answers a mother’s question who inquires if it’s okay for her daughter to read a horoscope. Again, Johnston iterates that a person should consult God’s word for its precious promises.

Daniel says through AskJJJ.com that he doesn’t feel saved. In reply, Johnston gives the wisdom that feelings are a dangerous barometer. Again, believing in the promises of God’s Word becomes the answer.


Ronnie FloydDr. Ronnie Floyd is senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. He has served as a strategic leader in the Southern Baptist Convention for decades. In 2017, Dr. Floyd was named the president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. He has authored books that marry faith and practicality, including the recent, “Living Fit: Make Your Life Count By Pursuing a Healthy You.”

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Healing the Scars of Addiction

 

For the Thanksgiving week program, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston leads listeners in a reflection of thankfulness. “This is a unique time of year,” he says. “Having lived for a couple of years in the United Kingdom and even in Canada, we are unique in the United States in that we have a federal, national holiday where we’re reminded that this country wouldn’t exist without God and His good providence in all of our lives.”

He refers to Luke 17, in which Jesus heals a group of 10 lepers, but only one returns to offer thanks. Luke 17:7: “Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’”

Johnston emphasizes the importance of thankfulness for one’s mental health. “Guess how you can get healthier, strengthen your immune system and lower your blood pressure? You can become a person of gratitude,” he says.

Taking it even further, Johnston quotes Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

“Paul taught that not being thankful was actually the first step in apostasy,” he says. “Make sure you take steps in your life to be a grateful person.”

Johnston welcomes renowned mental health treatment expert, Dr. Gregory Jantz, to the program. The first step toward recovery is reaching out for help, Jantz says. “When we don’t ask for help, we can be on a pathway to create sin,” he says.

At The Center: A Place of Hope, Jantz and clinicians seek

God for wisdom on how to address and treat the problems that manifest for each person. “If we just rely on one single approach, we will never get care for the whole person,” he says. “We know the spiritual piece has to be the foundation.”


Dr Greg JantzDr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center: A Place of Hope, a mental health treatment facility in Washington state. As a pioneer of whole-person care, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to changing lives for good. He has authored dozens of books and is a sought-after expert.