If I Had Two Months To Preach

What would I speak on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Someone messaged me asking what I would preach on at a church if I had two months to preach on an apologetics topic not necessarily political, but it wouldn’t be race either. What would I preach on? I immediately answered sex and marriage. I was asked if there was anything else since this was two months. I stated that I think this is two years worth and I stand by it. Why?

Let’s start out with getting people into the church. Imagine if on the sign outside the church you had the announcement “Come join us these next two months as our pastor preaches on sex and marriage.” Would you get more people in to see what was said? Yes. That could even include people outside the church.

After all, ask which people if they had to choose one, which they would rather see a TV movie about? Would it be the Sermon on the Mount or would it be David and Bathsheba? I know a lot of Christians would choose the former, but most on the other side would choose the latter, and let’s face it, a lot of Christians could very well choose the latter.

Not only that, but one of the greatest problems we have today is men don’t want to go to church. Church has become way too feminine. I would like every pastor to read Why Men Hate Going To Church. Many of our songs about Jesus could be what a girl sings about her boyfriend and guys don’t care about that, but if you talk about what men are interested in, they will come. Not only that, but statistically, if the father/husband comes, he brings the rest of the family with him.

Next, this is a topic our whole culture is confused on. We want to treat sex like something that you just do for fun, but when one person sleeps with someone different, the idea is that cheating has taken place. Kissing someone other than your lover can be cheating, but this brings it to a whole new level.

We know there’s something different. If the couple kisses or goes on a date, that’s said to be nice, but the goal really comes when they sleep together. Then you know that they are a couple. I am not saying that I agree with that, but I am saying that’s the perception.

Another reason to talk about this is this is a great cause of people leaving the faith. If there is any moral reason people abandon Christianity, it’s because it interferes with their sex lives. People don’t really like the stance Christianity takes on sex, and many times, that includes those of us who are Christians.

This is especially so with young people who we’ve sold a false bill of goods to. Many of us have told them that if they have sex before they marry, they will feel guilty. They might. Some do. Some don’t. Those that don’t wonder what else the church has lied to them about.

Another problem with this is purity culture where we have told women especially that if they give themselves away before marriage, they are damaged goods. I certainly think women should save themselves, but they are not damaged goods. We also have this strange idea of purity until marriage. No. You should stay pure after marriage. Sex isn’t something dirty that taints you.

For many men, pornography is a huge issue. Sadly, many more women are starting to get into this as well. The understanding I have is that one in three men in the church struggle with pornography and it’s probably more than that. This is also destroying many marriages. Why is it so many men are struggling with pornography and we never talk about it from the pulpit?

Our young people especially need a worldview of sex. Why not sleep together if you’re in love? They need a whole worldview of sex, and so do so many of the adults as well. I got after the guys about pornography, but the women need a message to. Too many women are engaging in sexting, that is, sending intimate pictures of themselves on their phones. They can think it will go away, but it won’t. I say this especially to the women because let’s face it, a woman’s body at the intimate level is much more appealing to people than a man’s is.

If a young man and a young woman are on a date, they need more than a few verses in Paul to stop them from going too far. They need a whole worldview. This could not only teach them good thinking about sex, but good thinking about everything else. Good thinking carries over after all. If you learn to think well in one area, you can do so in others more likely.

Also, our marriages need enrichment. I realize that Shaunti Feldhahn has dealt with a lot of myths about Christian marriage, but too many are in trouble and need help. We need whole sermons on the topic. Having a seminar every now and then is good, but we need more.

This also does have political ramifications. Teach on sex and you touch most everything else. You wind up addressing abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism. You will get people learning what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.

We also have many failures recently in this area. How many pastors who are prominent have fallen because of sexual temptation? Do I need to mention Ravi Zacharias again? He used to be one of my heroes and today, the first aspect of him I think of is the scandal.

Scripture speaks about this constantly for a reason. We should listen. Our young people and the rest of the church get to hear the world’s message on this topic six days a week. We have one day a week and we don’t use it.

So again, without hesitation, this is what I would speak on. It covers a multitude of topics and it is not based on race. Actually, all races could benefit from this. Last I checked, we all reproduce the same way.

And maybe you’re not a guest pastor, but you’re the actual pastor. Could it be time to update that sign outside the church?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Autism Awareness: Love

Can someone on the spectrum love? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

What does it mean to love? Sadly, love is one of the most meaningless words we have in our society today. This is not to downgrade love, but love is something that everyone says and very few people bother to define. The other word that comes to mind like that is God, and I’m certainly not one who disbelieves in God so consider the parallel.

The problem is we have so many different ideas all contained in one word of love. We can say we love pizza, a TV show, a video game, a sports team, a neighbor, a spouse, and God, and we use the same word for all of them. I certainly hope that you don’t love your family the same way you love pizza.

Meanwhile, when two people have sex, we often say that they are “making love.” I find this terminology strange, but not totally false since for a married couple definitely, the marital act is to build up love. Unfortunately, in our society, we also think that sex equals love, a trap especially young girls fall into thinking if a boy has sex with them, it means he loves them. No. The boy could really just be wanting to have sex.

But today, we’re asking if someone on the spectrum is capable of love. The answer to this is an unequivocal yes. Those on the spectrum can love, but it might look different from other people.

For me, love can have emotional highs, but those are the exception. I have more of a reality in my mind about the importance of the person. For a spouse, it’s a covenant relationship with them. For friends, it’s my willingness to do what I can to help them when they are in need.

Sometimes, this is difficult still as being on the spectrum, to a degree that could be higher than for others, it is often difficult to step outside of myself and see things from the perspective of the other. I don’t think we’re alone in that, but I think the degree for us is far more intense.

However, for many of us, loyalty remains something very special. I often think I would fit in wonderfully in the biblical world with honor and shame as this is how I examine my relationships with others. If someone betrays me or wrongs me in a great way, it is hard for me to ever trust them again. By contrast, if someone treats me right, I always want to honor my personal debt to them and show loyalty to them.

To return to love, something to keep in mind is that love is not an emotion. It can result in strong emotions, but it is not that. Just because someone has strong emotions does not mean that they have strong love. Love is shown in the actions someone does. I think it was Lewis who said it is your reactions that will show who you are more than your actions.

Love is seeking the good of the other for the sake of the other and if you truly love someone, you have to ask yourself regularly if you are seeking their good or not. There are times that letting go can be for someone else’s good. If you base it on an emotion, the emotion by nature cannot last forever and it will fade.

If you are in a relationship with someone on the spectrum, be it family, friendship, or romantic, be assured that they can love. Someone on the spectrum can also be hurt so watch how you treat them as well. We may not respond the same way as you, but the ways that we are similar are greater than the ways that we are different.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Pastor. Your Eyes And Heart Need Work.

What are wives required to do for husbands? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I heard yesterday about a video going viral. In it, a pastor was giving a sermon and sometime in the middle, he went on a tirade that is extremely derogatory towards women. If you want the highlights, here’s what someone posted about it.

As a husband to my wife and father to my daughter the things he brought out such as:

“Don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere”

“men are going to look so be sure to keep your self attractive enough he only wants to look at you”

“My friend set a divorce weight for his wife”

“It’s really important for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm”

“Women stink”

“Weight control”

“Food never taste as good as skinny feels”

“Dress appropriately, dress your age, dress your body type…just look good”.

Now someone could look at this and say, “Well isn’t it true that a wife should care about her appearance?” Yes. It is. Unfortunately, the way this guy spoke will not encourage any wife and places the blame on her and some statements are just hideous.

Let’s start with don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere. If this was a playful challenge given as an encouragement, that could have been one thing. “Women! You’re already beautiful! Your husband is tempted to look at other women because he is a man, but be a feast for his eyes and he will always return to you.”

Instead, what the preacher said was, “If you lower your beauty, your husband will look elsewhere.” When you’re a Christian man and dating, you already know that a woman is beautiful. When you marry, you learn that she really is much more beautiful than you realize.

If you are a man and you look at a woman and don’t see something beautiful, it is not the woman that needs to change but you. This is especially so for your wife. Every woman is beautiful in some way. If you are not seeing beauty, then work on changing yourself.

I honestly cannot easily picture Christ referring to any woman physically as ugly. He might think that their behavior is awful, but He never rejected a woman who came to Him for help. Jesus was incredibly kind towards women.

That being said, it is true men are going to look. I remember a young Catholic priest telling me about how he can look too and he always says, “She is a beautiful gift, but she is not for you.” A man might notice a woman and have a momentary thought, but a good man just moves on then.

I don’t think a man is responsible for his momentary temptation that flies through his mind. Now if he stares or leers or something else, that is different, but it is a struggle for the majority of men out there. A wife should not take it personally. At the end of the day, he chose her.

The comment about a man setting a divorce weight for his wife is one of the worst. I don’t know of anything in Scripture that says, “If you start thinking your wife is putting on too much weight, you may leave her and trade her in for a less heavy model.” This pastor doesn’t need to be condemning the women. He needs to be condemning his friend instead.

Now it is true that a man likes to have a beautiful woman on his arm and whenever I have had to take Allie somewhere, I have been delighted to show her off to everyone. If anything, I always delighted in telling everyone the story about her winning a beauty pageant. When I went to my 20th year high school reunion, I remember being eager to show her off to everyone I went to school with. Yes. I did get married and I married a beautiful woman.

Women stink? I have no doubt that a woman could have a problem if she has just worked out or anything like that, but so do men. That’s part of the human condition. It doesn’t matter either. A woman is still beautiful.

The statement about nothing tastes as good as being thin feels is one often used in diet motivation. If a woman wants to lose weight for proper health reasons (Not Anorexia or Bulimia) and is motivated by this, good for her. By the way, that should be the best motivation for weight control and that is health.

Now there is certainly truth in the last part about dress appropriately, but many Christian wives don’t have this problem. They’re not going to show up to church in a bikini or something like that. This could be something said more for the teenage girls in the audience who are still wanting to get a man in their lives.

But in the end, the big problem is that there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to make herself beautiful for the man in her life. When Ruth approached Boaz to see if he would marry her, she was told to bathe and put on her best clothes. Yes. Men do respond to physical appearance.

The man also needs to work on being the best that he can. It’s meant to be a mutual self-giving. Also, normally if a woman wants to do this, her husband will likely have no problem with it. I remember when Allie got a new dress at Wal-Mart one time and when she came out, my jaw just dropped. I was stunned by how beautiful she looks. I even told her that for my birthday I could ask my parents and in-laws to give her dresses as well. That would be just as much a gift to me.

As far as I know, this pastor’s wife didn’t poison him in his sleep or anything like that during the night. Either way, this is a man who definitely needs to get into marriage counseling and get his attitude towards women taken care of. Also, until that changes, please don’t be in the pulpit. We don’t need this kind of attitude there.

And women, you’re already beautiful. If a man doesn’t find you beautiful just the way you are, then he’s not going to find you beautiful anyway. His idea of your beauty is conditional. Move on.

However, while you should want to take care of yourself, if you have a good man, he will find you beautiful no matter what changes you go through. It is because while he sees your body, he doesn’t see just your body. He sees you and when he sees you he sees beauty. It’s not conditional.

If you’re a man who makes your commitment to your wife conditional on what is fleeting and passing anyway, then you don’t really have a commitment to your wife. You have a commitment to a female body. Work on your eyes, and your heart.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Sex Matters

What do I think of Mona Charen’s book published by The Crown Forum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Feminism has failed women.

This is not to say that everything it has done has been a catastrophe. What it means is that the movement has done more harm than good. While it hailed itself as pro-woman, it has actually been anti-woman. The damage has been because it had an idea of what they would like women to be, but ignored what women really are, and the same for men as well.

The movement assumed that for many women, the dream is to be a career woman. It assumed that women should experience sex the same way that men do. It assumed that women must be able to have abortions in order to be on equal footing with men.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for the majority of women. Women tend to really want to feel security. Marriage is one of the great ways that women can have that security. Not only that, that also has a positive effect on the man as the marriage covenant usually domesticates a man.

It started with some good goals for women, but then it went on to other ones. Many of the earliest feminists would be appalled at what feminism is today. The first one to really change the way the movement was seen was Betty Friedan with the Feminine Mystique. Much of what she said was rooted in Communism as well.

From there, more and more feminists wanted to push the envelope further. Marriage was seen as a bondage for women. Women should pursue sex outside of marriage. Motherhood should not be a major goal for women. Abortion should be a right for women.

Unfortunately, all of this denies what women are. Women have a natural longing for the most part to be mothers. Many women would be willing to sacrifice a career to raise their children directly. Sex outside of marriage does not do women good but rather allows them to be used.

This is built on the idea that femininity is something artificial that can be bent to be whatever we want, but if women have a nature and we are fighting against that, then we are doing harm to women. The same is also done to men. We live in an age where we hear about toxic masculinity and complaining about the patriarchy, automatically assuming that masculinity is a bad thing and a man is a villain if he leads.

This has also led to women severing their bonds. In abortion, a woman severs the natural bond she has to be a mother to her children. Abortion is actually the most anti-feminine behavior I can think of. First off, many of the babies aborted are themselves women. Second, a woman is doing the exact opposite of the motherly instinct and learning to kill her own children for the sake of something else. It could be money or career or just wanting to have free sex. Either way, a woman does herself great harm as she has to find a way to justify abortion.

A woman also has to shut herself down during sex which can lead to the hook-up culture. Women are too easily used and many women have taught themselves to not feel anything during sex lest they form a connection that get severed. Many women will also say yes to sex when they don’t really want to because of fear of losing the guy or of being seen as a prude by society.

We’re also told men need to stop pressuring women to have sex. This is true, but at the same time, in reality, men also have far more testosterone in their bodies and think about sex a whole lot more than women. We are also far more aggressive. Andrew Sullivan is even cited with an example of how he was getting testosterone for something and at the start, he almost got into a fight with his neighbor because of it.

Do men need to control their strong desire for sex? Yes. Will you change male nature though? No. The more you do that, you will find yourself fighting against reality.

Let’s consider some ways we are doing that. Charen cites someone who complains about a tool that is used by women to help them see if a date rape drug has been put in a drink. A woman complains saying she doesn’t want to live in a world where she has to fear that her date has done something like that.

That’s a fine goal, but the reality is we do live in that world. We do live in a world where some men are scum and you might not know if that guy you just met in a bar is one of them or not. I remember hearing actress Bates say about the Weinstein situation that in her day, when a man invited you up to his hotel room, you knew what it was about.

Men, however, also can be natural protectors. If a man has a wife, for the most part, he will want to protect her and provide for her. I remember even when I worked at a movie theater as a young adult. We worked at a mall and often got out of work after midnight. I would always walk my female co-workers to their cars and told them the same thing. “If someone comes after us, you run. Don’t look back. Don’t worry about me. Just run.” After all, I’m a Christian. I knew where I was going. My goal was to keep the women safe.

This has also changed college culture. Date rape is on the rise and more and more control is being exerted. Many a woman can seduce a man or at least have sex where the man thinks it’s consensual and then months later he’s slapped with rape and abuse charges. The problem is usually when a couple is having sex there aren’t a lot of witnesses around.

And what about after that? The family is in crisis. It was long beforehand, but it has only gotten worse because of feminism and “sexual liberation.” We have let government take the role of parents and it just doesn’t work. The main loss is the loss of fathers. Children are best raised by their biological mothers and fathers in a committed relationship.

The breakdown of the family is a disaster for men and women both, but especially for the children afterward. We are fighting against reality by doing this. We need to go back and examine feminism and see what is really good for women, and not for men, and not just what we would like to see.

This is an excellent book that we definitely need to read and the data is far more than I can show in just a blog review. I would that more people would read a book like this. Our society is on a downhill track and we really need to change it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

The Need of the Other

What can we not do for ourselves? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My apologies for a week without blogs. I have had a whole lot going on in my personal life. I am sure it will come out eventually, but for now, I am fighting a private battle with the help of some friends and others and I appreciate your prayers and support in it. I also have some book reviews to do, but I wanted to write on something I was thinking about recently.

It started with my cat actually. I have noticed whenever I am around him, my cat is constantly wanting my attention. I can hardly play a video game or a TV show without him being right up there with me wanting to get attention.

Now in some ways, we could say a cat could survive on their own. Many do in the wild. They can hunt their own food and they can go to the bathroom where they want. Many of them are solitary animals who hunt on their own from what I see.

So yes, I do feed my cat and change his litter box and he can’t do this on his own while domesticated, but even if in the wild, there is something he can’t do on his own. He can’t pet himself. If my cat wants to be petted, he depends on me, a human being.

As we grow up, one of the first blessings we can get in our lives when we step outside of our homes is friends. These are people who have no blood relation to us and come to like us and enjoy our company and are willing to sacrifice their time and sometimes money because they think we are worth the investment. I have plenty of friends who have been there whenever I have needed to make a phone call and it means a lot when someone calls just to check and see how I am doing.

Aristotle even said friends were something not necessary to live, but they were good to have and your life is lacking without them. Friendship has been a great mystery to us, but we are all thankful for it. Even in Plato’s Lysis, it is not known at the end what a friend is, but it is hopeful that we all leave as friends.

This is not to deny family, and it’s interesting that it takes multiple people really to have a family. The family begins with a man and a woman together. Communist societies had a war against the family constantly because the family doesn’t require the government or its justification to exist. Family is the first community we live in and it is a community often vastly different than we are. Our birth parents in reality are people we might not even choose as friends if we didn’t know them, but we have a great bond to them as family.

And now let’s combine those two. Friends and family are best combined in marriage. Again, I cannot give myself that kind of love. If we refer to sexual love, yes, regardless of your moral stance on the issue, masturbation exists, and yet most of us would prefer to be with a member of the opposite sex instead of alone by ourselves.

So sexual love requires someone else and marriage is not only a community, but is a making of a new community that is a reproducing community. If you have friends, you grow the circle from without by bringing in new people that are already there. With marriage, you bring in new people through the act of sexual intercourse. That comes from within.

If we look in Scripture, we find numerous passages in the New Testament in the epistles especially that are commands to do something to one another. The church is meant to be a community. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity in reality. With the Coronavirus, many of us have lost that community. It’s hard to have community when you are alone in your homes watching on a screen. While I have a different interpretation of the Lord’s Supper than my Catholic and Orthodox friends, we all agree it is an important aspect of community.

All of this community shows us how much we need one another. We are not meant to be alone. Even if a person wants to be single, they still need companions and friends. Even Jesus had them on His journeys as did Paul. All of this comes from God above.

And by the way, He is a Trinity. Just think about it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Chasing Love

What do I think of Sean McDowell’s book published by B&H Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.”

So said those great philosophers decades ago, the Beatles. So says modern culture today. Many girls grow up with a dream of that Prince Charming who will come up and sweep them off their feet and take them away to a life of bliss. Many guys tend to think more physically and think about getting married and having constant sex with their wives. Both sexes have legitimate desires.

Yet love is one of the most confused topics in our culture today and this is what Sean McDowell is writing about. His writing is aimed mainly at teenagers. Thus, it’s really easy for anyone to understand. The chapters are short and you could read on just one chapter of your choice at a time if you wanted to. Each chapter also ends with a question that McDowell answers.

It’s clear in this that he’s spoken to a lot of teenagers and knows what is on their minds. That’s great and needed. He is also not legalistic. Nothing in this book remotely gets close to the idea that sex is some dirty and taboo subject. (And yes, there does seem to be a connection in the book and in our culture between sex and love)

McDowell works to set up the idea that sex is God’s idea and gives us a theological basis for how to think about sex. This is absolutely essential I think as too many people, including Christians, do not have a worldview place for sex. Sometimes it can seem like a happy accident, but I honestly cannot fathom how someone can have sex and think of it as just an accident of the universe.

McDowell encourages students to look at the sexual ethic of Jesus found in Scripture and practice purity. However, if someone does mess up, he’s there with grace as well and to show that God has grace for you. He also says if you are abused, it is not your fault, which is 100% true. There are also chapters on hot button issues like homosexuality and transgenderism.

So anything I would change? Yes. I think more needs to be said on some topics.

For one thing, Sean McDowell’s Dad, Josh McDowell, has said that pornography is the greatest threat the Christian faith has ever faced. Even if that’s not true, and I think it certainly could be, it is a great threat that we face. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough time spent on that topic. I would have at least a few chapters devoted to it.

By the way, pornography is not just a guy’s problem. It has largely appealed to men, but it is becoming more and more appealing to women and many women have no place they think they can go to talk about it. Too often when guys get together to discuss their struggles, sex is all they talk about. For the women, it’s the opposite as sex can be rarely talked about.

With that comes another issue that needs to be discussed and that is sexting. Even if a woman isn’t engaged in pornography, she is affected by it. Too often, boyfriends are just assumed to be watching porn and women think they have to compete with that. If so, then a woman is more prone to send pictures of herself completely topless to guys. Women can feel more pressured to go further thinking it is necessary to keep a guy.

This should also touch on social media. Nowadays, when kids get home, they have sexual pressure on the internet as well. Think about the story of Amanda Todd. It’s so prevalent out there that I just typed in three words to remember her last name. Amanda, flashing, suicide. Ten hits on the first page all about her and the last one was something about the most beautiful suicide girls of all time. Yeah. Lovely stuff.

So anyway, this girl is apparently on a video chat one day and a guy convinces her to lift up her shirt so her breasts can be seen. She does and the image is stored forever and the guy ends up stalking her. He threatens to share the picture everywhere and even uses it as his Facebook page image and he regularly created new accounts to stalk Todd. Before she was even 18, Todd had hung herself.

The pressure is real.

I think in light of events like this, definitely more needs to be said about social media and sex. If someone like Ravi Zacharias isn’t even safe from doing sexting, we definitely need to say more about it. Too many kids are playing with sex not knowing the powerhouse that it really is. Movies and sitcoms and other shows often show a lot of the pleasures without any of the side-effects which can be physical, psychological, emotional, and I would add in spiritual.

So thus, McDowell’s book is great as is, but I want to see more added on to it. Perhaps if he releases a future edition, he can include more on these topics. Our young people are entering territory that is completely new and they need guidance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On The Fall of Ravi Zacharias

What does what happened to Ravi mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and fall out.

Not too long ago, RZIM released a statement saying that it looks like allegations of sexual misconduct against Ravi Zacharias are true. I am sure some of you are still skeptical, but we can’t do all of our own investigations into Ravi and for the sake of argument, since RZIM is saying it and I have no reason to think they would want to make up something about the founder of their organization whose name is on them, I want to ask what it means. Even if you don’t think the claims are true, consider it at least a for the sake of argument discussion.

Concerning Christian truth, it really means nothing ultimately. Ravi was a man like any other man. Christianity did not stand or fall on him. If your faith was built on Ravi Zacharias, you built it on the wrong man.

Concerning ethics, well that’s a different matter. It’s not that any ethical truths stand or fall with Ravi. What matters for this is how one should live their life, especially if they’re in a ministry capacity.

Regardless of where they stand on the issues, I am convinced someone would have to be a fool to think we don’t live in a sex-crazed society. Even as I do something simple like play Words With Friends on my phone, something even my wife’s grandmother does, I see ads popping up for games that are meant to appeal to lust in some way. It has really become unavoidable.

This is also one reason men especially need to be careful. We are not the only ones who can fall in this area, but it seems we are more prone to falling. It’s one reason why when Allie has been in the facility getting treatment, unless they were related to me or with someone else, I have not allowed a woman into the apartment. I do not drive alone with other women unless they are family.

Apparently, Ravi didn’t live up to the sexual ethic along the way somewhere and sadly, his ministry will suffer for it. For my part, I keep thinking about a lady who heard him speak who was a skeptic and when asked on the way home what she thought of the talk said, “I wonder what he’s like in his private life.” Sadly, we now know that private life wasn’t consistent and if your private life and public life are inconsistent like that, your witness for the kingdom will suffer.

Not only that, but anyone connected with RZIM could suffer. What about the memory of Nabeel Qureshi? He traveled frequently with RZIM. Will this damage his reputation even though he quite likely had nothing to do with it or even knew about it? Time will tell. It’s not fair if it does, but sadly, it’s what happens.

We also sadly remember a man’s failures much more than we do his successes. We remember fondly King David’s battle with Goliath in the Bible, but what’s the next story everyone remembers if it’s not the first one? David and Bathsheba.

Earlier this year, it’s believed that Mike Adams committed suicide. Sadly, when I think of him now, I don’t think of all the good he did, but remember how he died, which seems to be common with people who commit suicide. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. When people fail, we remember it.

In some ways, you could say our society delights in it. Perhaps we think it makes it easier for us. “Hey! If Ravi Zacharias can’t live this kind of ethic out, surely I can’t be expected to!”

None of us is off the hook though. We’re all expected to honor our bodies and those around us properly. Perhaps when one gets in a position of fame, which is a kind of power, then one becomes prideful and thinks they are above the rules and can hide indiscretions.

We can’t.

This is not to say the Christian ethic is easy, but it is possible. It’s doable. There are plenty of people who do it. You and I have never heard of them, but they do it. Several people save sex for marriage and stay faithful to their spouses. Several people can still avoid pornography.

Watch a sitcom or movie today and it will look like everyone, including the women, want nothing more than to jump in bed immediately and have at it. Everything also always works perfectly. If there’s one piece of advice I give guys who are virgins who are about to marry concerning this, it’s to consider everything you see in movies and TV because it’s totally unrealistic. Unfortunately, this also does set up a norm.

What is needed is for our society to really think about sex and sexual ethics. You might think we do that already. That’s the problem in our society isn’t it? We all think about sex too much. No. It’s really the opposite. We think about it too little if we do at all.

Oh we dream about it. We fantasize about it. We talk about it, watch it, and just plain do it, but think about it? Hardly. We don’t think about what it is, what it means, and what it’s for. Very few of us have a worldview of sex. We could just see it as a happy accident that the universe worked out this way to give us this experience.

It’s even worse though if we’re Christians. If we are, we should realize God is the one behind all of this and seek to want to know why he made the system the way He did. It’s all His idea after all.

We also need to build one another up in this. We absolutely need to have other Christians to hold us accountable. I have Christians I can talk to about my struggles, including while it is that my wife is away at this time. It is either my passions are going to control me or I am going to control them.

But it is doable. One can control their passions and in the end, for the sake of the holiness of sexuality, I am convinced it’s worth it.

As for Ravi, it’s hard. For me, Ravi was my first apologetics hero. I look over and see the gift that he had given to me and my wife on our wedding day hanging on my wall right now. I know I have several of his books on my bookshelves. It doesn’t mean what is in them is false. Still, perhaps everything he wrote will be viewed with more suspicion now because of his own personal sin.

That is a tragedy.

And yet then, I think of the saying, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Scripture tells us if anyone thinks he stands, he needs to be careful lest he fall. It further tells me I want to live by the Pence/Graham rule as much as I can. We all have only one shot at building a reputation in life. When my time is done and people look back on my reputation, I hope it will be something that people will be pleased with. I hope even my opponents intellectually would be able to say that though they disagreed with me intellectually, I did live my life honorably.

And to my friends who have been supportive of me over the years and been my confidants and mentors, I thank you greatly. When I was with my folks this past weekend for Christmas, I showed my Dad the final speech of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory with him receiving the Nobel Prize with his wife. He said something in it along the lines of how he used to think his accomplishments were his own, but they were also the accomplishments of those who stood with him, including his biological family and his family of friends. I fully say the same thing. Everything I do here is not mine alone.

I have played the Final Fantasy games for most of my life. What you learn from those in one sense is you need a party. No one fights alone. I don’t either. My friends mean everything to me and I am grateful to them all and hope I can be just as good a friend to them as they have been to me.

In the meantime, pray especially for Ravi’s family. One can hardly imagine what they are going through with these revelations coming out. Then learn to watch yourselves. If you are in ministry, do so especially. Your failure would have far greater ramifications than that of many others. Be careful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Does God Want?

What does God want of us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m not a prayer warrior. Some of you might think with my being in Christian ministry, I spend a lot of time in prayer and it comes naturally for me. No. It doesn’t. I do have an attitude of it throughout the day asking God about events in my life, but to go somewhere and focus for a long time in prayer is difficult.

After one such time recently, I found myself thinking that so many times, I come to God and I have the list of all the things that I want. What does God want from me when I pray? I don’t know if I had ever thought about that before, but I decided to ponder it.

I have really only come to one conclusion. God wants us to love Him. It might sound simplistic, but there’s a profundity to it I think. It’s easy to come to God when you think about what you want instead of just coming to Him for who He is.

Sometimes skeptics often ask “If God wants me, why doesn’t He just appear to me immediately? Why doesn’t He make Himself known?” He could do that if He wanted to, but maybe that doesn’t give the true results desired. That treats God like He’s just a trivia question instead of the person saying “No. If God exists, I really want to know it. I really want to know Him.”

There are some skeptics who have said that even if they were shown that God existed, they wouldn’t worship Him. With such people, there’s definitely no reason for God to reveal Himself. God does promise though that if someone is genuinely seeking, they will genuinely find.

Sometimes with this kind of thing I think about the Little Mermaid. Remember in that movie Ariel has to without her voice get the man to kiss her? Now in reality, the best way she could do that is to have removed that wrapping she had around herself immediately when she saw him and odds are she would have got a kiss immediately, but it would not have been a kiss of love. It would have been one of lust. Instead, she had to work and spend the time with him to really try to get that kiss.

In the same way, if God shows up in all His glory, you’re really not going to have much of a say in the matter. The ones who will get to see the glory of God are the ones who have put forward the work to relate to Him first and find Him first. Those who are coming to Him only wanting just the benefits, which does include Heaven, are the ones who don’t really want Him. This is one reason I find that when we talk about life in Heaven, God is usually treated like an afterthought.

“Oh yeah! You get to live in a mansion! The streets are gold! You live forever! There’s no pain or sickness or death! All your dead loved ones are there waiting for you! Oh, one more thing. There’s this guy called God there if you care about that.”

We wouldn’t come out and say that, and I’m not saying I believe in a literalistic description of Heaven, but that is the way it usually is treated. Most of us don’t think about God when we think about Heaven. We think about what benefits us. The purpose of getting someone to be a Christian is usually, “Well you want to go to Heaven, don’t you?”

It’s really using God.

So now, when I have come in prayer, I have tried to make statements of love and sometimes, I may not feel them or think I mean them, but I try to say them anyway. What if God wants to be loved for Himself, which is really what we all want?

The Jews have a song sang at Passover called Dayenu where it lists step by step the blessings God brought to His people at the Exodus and for each step it is said “And if you had just done XYZ, dayenu, it would have been enough.” Then they go one step further everytime adding in dayenu.

What God has already done for us, well dayenu. He has done more than enough for us. Everything else is a gift. If we do not come to Him as He is appreciating what we have already, we are guilty of ingratitude to God and using Him. We all have many gifts in life and none of us are debts owed to us. It is all a gift.

Maybe it’s time to express some love back.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Update on Allie

How’s it going? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So I figured today I would just do a quick thing and let you all know how Allie has been doing. I don’t know how much longer she’s going to be in this place exactly so don’t ask please, but the fundraising is still going on. Some people have sent in checks and those don’t show up on GoFundMe. At this point, we have about $18,000 to go in fundraising. You can make your donations here.

Allie has been in there for about a month or so now. I’m actually incredibly surprised. I was under the suspicion that she would be reaching out to us and complaining about how her experience has been. So far, I have not heard about her doing that. She normally wants to get out of mental hospitals, but this place is quite different.

She posts regularly on Facebook about her progress if you’re friends with her here. I have been pleased to hear about the amount of discipline she has developed while there. I haven’t got to have a family session yet with her, but when the time comes, I definitely want to commend this place on how they’ve done.

She has even got on Instagram, which really surprised me since I thought she wouldn’t want to again, and has created a page. Just look up the name d1v1n3_artistry. She’s doing great work with her make-up. Even better, she’s wanting to work a lot more on Christian character, to which the inner beauty makes her outer beauty all the more glorious.

I remember sometime before Allie went to this place talking on the phone with her and her priest. I was there when he talked to her mother after about how he wanted to do some fundraising as well and said his reasons were very selfish. He wants to see her get well. If that’s what selfish is, I certainly hope we encounter a lot more selfish people.

Some of you have donated anonymously. That’s fine. I understand it. I cannot think you online directly. Some of you, I don’t know. I have tried to make it an effort to thank people who have donated. If you have and I have not, please realize sometimes I do miss people and it’s nothing against you really. I appreciate anyone who has made a donation.

Definitely in all of this, I appreciate your prayers. These go not just for Allie, but also for her parents and myself. We who are the family are going through this walk as well and wondering how the story is going to be playing out from this point.

I have been making it a point to pray not just for Allie’s health but her holiness. My best man at our wedding gave us a toast and said that health is not guaranteed, but may you always be holy. I am working hard to deal with my own issues while Allie is in this place and thinking about what she means to me. My thanks to so many of you who have reached out in this time.

If you want to send Allie something directly, you can do so at the address below. Remember that anything you get is I’m sure opened by the staff there before Allie can see it, so don’t worry about any wrapping. Even something like an Amazon gift card can greatly help her.

Allie Peters
1961 N DRUID HILLS RD NE
ATLANTA, GA 30329-1807

Thank you all for your consideration in this time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Importance of Gratitude

What difference does it make to give thanks? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I always had a problem with this when I was growing up. My grandmother was one of those people big into manners. Whenever I got a gift, she would tell me to say thank you in a voice I look back on as patronizing. Being the kind of kid I was, it left me instead wanting to not say that to people.

That has “thankfully” changed.

Last night, I was doing some reading in a book called Time and Despondency. It’s a book on dealing with what we would call depression from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, but if you’re Protestant or Catholic, you’ll still get a lot out of it. The author talked about hearing a message from a Catholic who struggled all his life with major depression. He was asked once what a sign is that he would be entering depression again. His response was surprising.

Lack of gratitude.

The author then goes on to talk about how the Bible doesn’t really say to be thankful as much as it does to give thanks. It tells us to do the action. “But I don’t feel thankful right now.” So what? If you act only when you feel like it, that doesn’t merit you anything. The reality is you have to act contrary to your feelings.

I can attest to this in my own personal life. When I am depressed over something, I am not really grateful for anything. I look out the window and see the sky and the trees and the birds and people going about their lives and cats and dogs in our apartment complex and think “Who cares?” When something happens that changes my attitude, I look at those items differently. Has anything in the world itself changed? No. I have changed. That is the difference.

Many of you know that my wife Allie is in a facility now receiving in-depth therapy and medical treatment for BPD. It is my hopes she comes out of this a whole new woman. If you want to contribute to her ongoing fundraising to cover this, please do so here.

Today, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook with something she wrote about how she really is beautiful just as she is. I commented telling her I have been telling her that for years. I hope now she is starting to believe it. She replied with a personal thanks and a little smiling emoji.

You might think that’s cute.

I can tell you that that has easily been the highlight of my week if not my month so far.

With that comment, a cloud that had been hanging over my head really just vanished. Once again, nothing in the external world really changed. What changed was my attitude. It was easier to be pleasant around people and I was less bothered about things and I was genuinely happy about my life. Thus far, that hasn’t gone away.

By the way ladies, unless your husband is being needlessly crude, if he compliments you on your appearance, always say thank you at least. If a husband compliments his wife on her beauty and she argues against him, that cuts deeper than you know. The message you give him when you do that is “You’re a liar” or “You’re deluded.” Either way, you are insulting him. Just tell him thank you and that will make his day. If you want to make it more past that, that’s up to you, but thank you goes a long way.

It’s also interesting that the more you get thankful for someone in your life, the more you will really care about that person and genuinely love them. If you tell yourself that someone is a pain, well lo and behold, you will have a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may not be able to change other people directly, but you can sure change how you treat them.

Ultimately, this comes back to God. Did I give thanks to Him when I saw this message? Yep. Sure did. I intend to keep doing that. Hopefully, I will also learn to give thanks even when things aren’t going good in my life. It’s a command. God doesn’t say “Give thanks except when you don’t feel like it.” He says to give thanks regardless.

I encourage you then if you need encouragement, give thanks. If you don’t need it now, maybe that person you’re giving thanks to does need it. You don’t even have to know them. It could be the random person just doing their job. Give them gratitude and if you can, a little bit more. Not only will it make their day possibly, but you could get better service. (I remember working near a pizzeria once and I would go there on my lunch break. I noticed I had no problem getting service after I left a $5 tip one time.)

Remember, something could be little to you, but it could be huge for someone else. You could lift someone out of depression or even stop someone who is pondering suicide just by an act of kindness. Show love to that person, regardless of your mood. Everyone will be better for it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)