Several years ago, I remember talking with my pastor, Tom Stipe, and discussing something I had observed: Sin makes you weird, but walking with Jesus makes a person increasingly healthy and “normal.”
Who Defines What is “Weird”?
Some people might bristle at the terms “weird” and “normal,” wondering whose definition of “normal” we should use, but in this case I use it in the sense of the healthy standards for behavior and attitudes that are laid out in the Bible, and which have shaped global society in a pervasive way.
For more on that, see Tom Holland’s incredible book, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. Holland is not a “Christian author” per se; he is a historian who has spent most of his life studying history as relates to other topics, but he has admitted that his research for this book profoundly impacted his life and faith personally. I read it last year and would recommend it.
So, when I say “normal” in this sense, I am referring to virtues which are not only biblical, but which are affirmed by the majority of cultures worldwide. Things such as goodness, kindness, charity, graciousness, and the like – in contrast to abuse, usury, envy, pride, and so on.
My conviction that “sin makes you weird” is not new to me, but it has been verified through the ever-increasing use of brain scans which show how certain behaviors affect brain activity.
One of the chief among these, and most reported on, is the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, and pornography.
When I moved to Longmont to pastor White Fields, I was 28 years old. I had been pastoring for 7 years, and had a lot more hair (though it was already thinning!)
On March 27, the church surprised me with a celebration I didn’t know was coming. We had cakes and other treats at each service, and they had leaders who were elders in the first few years I was here come up and say a few words and pray for my wife and I.
Of these past 10 years, the last 5 have been particularly enjoyable; working with friends, taking steps of faith, and experiencing good fruit.
We are currently in the midst of a building expansion project, in order to create room for more people to come, hear God’s Word, grow, and be equipped. It’s an exciting time, and I look forward to the future!
Each chapter begins with the phrase: “I Could Never Believe in a God Who…”
A God Who Hasn’t Proven His Existence
A God Who Gave Us a Faulty Bible
A God Who Condoned Genocide in the Old Testament
A God Who Creates Hateful, Hypocritical Followers
A God Who Suppresses Women and Minorities
A God Who Sends People to Hell
A God Who Says Some Love is Wrong
A God Who Lets Bad Things Happen to Good People
A God Who Doesn’t Answer My Prayers
Book Signing This Sunday
For those who are within driving distance of Longmont, Colorado, this Sunday I will be signing copies of the book after each of our 3 services at White Fields Church. We will have copies for sale on site. If you can make it out, I’d love to see you there!
In this episode, Michael interviews me and Curt, who edited the book, as we discuss the backstory behind how it came about, as well as the content of the chapters, and who this book is for.
I hope this book will be a great resource to help both those who are wrestling through facing these barriers to embracing Christianity, as well as those who seek to be equipped to help their family and friends move from doubt to belief.
I’d love it if you’d consider buying a copy of the book, and if you’d help spread the word about it online!
Book Release Announcement & Preview – The God I Won't Believe In: Facing Nine Common Barriers to Embracing Christianity –
Theology for the People
Nick wrote a book! It's coming out March 6, 2022 and is available for pre-order on Amazon here.
The book is titled, The God I Won't Believe In: Facing Nine Common Barriers to Embracing Christianity.
In this episode, Nick sits down with Michael Payne and Curt Fuller, who edited the book, the discuss how the book came about, who it's for, and what it's about.
Make sure to visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org for more articles and content.
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theologyforthepeople/support
In this episode, we talk about some of our experiences as pastors, specifically in regard to training and support. What is the responsibility of someone who is called to ministry to study to show themselves approved, a workman who can rightly divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15)? What responsibility does the congregation have towards the minister – for support and providing care and coaching?
We discuss these and other subjects in this episode.
Dr. Collins has served as a pastor and a professor of Biblical Interpretation at Colorado Christian University. He is a member of White Fields Community Church in Longmont, Colorado, where he teaches an adult Sunday School class at 8:00 AM on Sunday mornings.
We also explain and mention two initiatives I am involved in, which were designed to meet these needs:
Expositors Collective: a group of Christian leaders who are working together to raise up the next generation of Christ-centered Bible teachers and preachers, through our 2-day interactive seminars and our weekly podcast. Our next training seminar will be held in Costa Mesa, California, on February 18-19, 2022. If you’d like more information, and to register, go to expositorscollective.com
Cultivate Training Program: This is a relationally focused, local-church based training program which helps assess, train, and potentially deploy new church planters and missionaries.
Click here to listen to this episode, or listen in the embedded player below.
Dr. Roy Collins returns as a guest to the podcast to share his difficult experiences as a young pastor, and how they have led to the dual conclusions that a congregation has a responsibility to a pastor, both to train and to support them, and that a person in ministry has a responsibility to pursue ongoing training in order to stir up the gifts that God has placed within them, so they can serve people well.
In this episode, Dr. Collins speaks candidly about some of his experiences, and Nick shares some current training initiatives that can help provide support for the very areas which Dr. Collins addresses as being needs.
For more information on these programs, visit:
Cultivate church planter training program
Visit the Theology for the People website for more information and articles.
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theologyforthepeople/support
Does the Bible encourage people who are poor to ask for help, or does it put the onus on the rich to provide for the poor?
The Bible gives a pretty nuanced view of provision for the poor, which includes both proactive provision for the poor, while still requiring action on the part of the recipient.
For example, in Leviticus 19:9-10, farmers were instructed to leave the corners of their fields unharvested so the poor could come and glean. So while the rich were called to sacrifice some of their profits to provide for the poor, the poor were still required to go and harvest the food for themselves. Rather than giving them flour, for example, those in need were required to harvest grain and grind it into flour themselves. If someone was unwilling to work, in this case, they would not eat – but provision was made for them, via sacrifice on the part of those who had enough, to be able to get what they needed to survive.
A similar sentiment is found in the Epistle to the Galatians, where in Galatians 6:2 it says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” but a few verses later, it says, “Each person will have to bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:5). The difference is that the “burden” mentioned in 6:2 refers to a crushing burden, whereas “load” in 6:5 refers to an individual’s burden of responsibility. So, we are called to help those who are facing burdens they are unable to bear on their own, yet with the goal of helping those people to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for themselves and their lives.
In 2 Thessalonians 3, we read an interesting passage:
If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
For some reason, there were people in the Thessalonian church were unwilling to work, and were living off the generosity of others. Some believe that the reason for this attitude is because they believed it was more spiritual not to work, since they expected the imminent return of Jesus. While Paul encouraged them that Jesus could return at any time, they were encouraged to work in order to provide for themselves if they were able. Here again, we see the importance of providing for those in need while at the same time encouraging people to take initiative and responsibility to work if they are able.
So, to answer the question: The onus is first on those who have to help provide for the poor, no matter how or why they became poor. But this generosity is not to be done in order to create dependence, but rather to relieve a burden and encourage responsibility and independence.
Local Resource: Table of Hope Food Pantry
Table of Hope Food Pantry is a ministry which was born out of White Fields Community Church in Longmont, Colorado and serves Southwest Weld County, Longmont, and the surrounding communities by providing residents in need with nutritious food, the ability to become more self-sufficient, and hope for their future.
Table of Hope is open to anyone, no questions asked, and no ID required. For more information about Table of Hope, check out Table-of-Hope.com
Project Greatest Gift works with the Health and Human Services departments of Weld, Adams, and Boulder Counties to provide Christmas gifts, as well as help with groceries and clothing for families in kinship and foster care at this time of the year. This is a practical way we, as the Body of Christ, can show the heart of God and the love of Jesus to those in need in our community.
Last year I sat down with Christine, the founder of Project Greatest Gift, to discuss its origins, the vision behind it, and how God has used it over the past 10+ years. You can watch that discussion in the video below.
You can participate in Project Greatest Gift no matter where you are located since sign-ups for sponsoring children and caretakers are now completely online!
I was given a copy of Dominic’s book when it first came out, and it sat on my shelf until I picked it up one Saturday to thumb through it, and next thing I knew I had read every word and used up an entire highlighter. I read the whole thing in one sitting because it was so fascinating, well-written, and applicable.
More recently, in September of 2021, I got to spend some time with Dominic in Colorado Springs at an Expositors Collective training weekend where he was one of our guest speakers.
We are excited for Dominic to come and speak at our church on November 14, and I encourage you: if you are within driving distance of Longmont, make sure to join us and bring someone with you who needs to here this important, helpful, and relevant message!
If you have ever struggled with doubts, or if you are curious about deconstruction: what it means, if it is a good thing or a dangerous thing – join us for this special Sunday!
This past Sunday, we studied the second half of chapter 1, in which Paul talks about “the message of the cross.” In doing so, Paul makes clear between 1:17 and 1:18 that the message of the cross is the gospel, and the gospel is the message of the cross. This message is “the power of God” for all who believe; precisely the same thing Paul says about the gospel in Romans 1:16. In other words, the gospel (the central message of Christianity) is the message of the cross.
Martin Luther wrote about the difference between a “theology of glory” and the “theology of the cross.” In this week’s Sermon Extra, I explain some of this historical context for Luther’s differentiation between the theology of glory and the theology of the cross, as well as how we can recognize theologies of glory in our modern times.
You can also listen to the podcast of this episode here: