Since I was able to read and be blessed by all of your applications and thoughtful answers, I wanted to share my responses to them as well, so you can get to know me just like I was able to get to know you!
What ministry are you involved in?
Cornerstone Church & Salt Company Ames
How can someone be saved?
It is by grace through faith ALONE. //You don’t need fruit to be saved, but you will have fruit if you are saved.
Good works + faith ≠ Salvation.
Salvation + Faith = Good Works
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Describe when you came to faith in Christ.
I do not have a specific date or season that I can point to that I came to know the Lord, I remember believing in Jesus for as long as I can remembers, and my life has been full of seeing Christ in new ways, understanding Him deeper, and pursuing Him more. I strive to know Christ on a deeper level every single day, continuing to fully surrender all I am and all I have to him.
How have you specifically grown in your spiritual walk over the past six months?
The last six months have been some of the most trying but joy filled of my life. As many of you know we had to completely rebrand our business do to running into legal issues. We found out that another company had a trademark similar to ours, and we made the decision to reach out to them to possibly gain permission to continue, but in doing this we risked a lawsuit and possibly loosing everything. Besides coming to Christ, this was the first time in my life that I had to “surrender all.” I had to lay down my misplaced identity I had in a brand, lay down any “financial security,” and truly risk losing everything for the sake of integrity and Christ. It truly ought me what it looks like to continually surrender all I am and all I have to Christ, and to find my identity in Him alone. It also showed me that there is abundant joy to be found in Christ even through trial and suffering. Man what a testimony of the forceful grace of God, and what it means to be refund by fire. GOD IS SO GOOD to His children!
How does your community impact your relationship with Christ?
Man a man is this a big one and a huge reason I do what I do. We are not meant to live our lives alone and we are not meant to pursue christ alone. We must spend time alone with our Heavenly Father, but never forget that we are saved into the body. My community is vital to my pursuit of holiness, know Christ, and making His name known. I am so blessed to have so many likeminded followers of Christ in my life that continue to challenge me and spur me on to a deeper relationship with my savior. I believe community is one of the the greatest weapons to fighting sin and pursuing Christ!
What are your beliefs on alcohol?
The Bible has a lot to say about this Especially 1 Peter. We are called to live sober minded and be attentive of the working of Spirit and the schemes of the advisory. (1 Peter 1:13,4:7,5:8) We are also commended to not go to “drinking party’s” as the gentiles do. (1 Peter 4:3) I believe drinking is acceptable in moderation as Jesus drank wine with his disciples. Scripture also says all things may be acceptable but all things may not be permissible. It may be ok for one person to partake in drinking, but sinful for another depending the situation. It is also not ok for anyone to drink under the age of 21 unless you are in your own home with your parents (as we are called to obey government authority. Drunkenness and any sort of “buzz” that inhibits your ability to think of Christ and withstand temptation is sin. Alcohol is never something meant to be taken lightly, I believe we are called to ask the question “how is this stirring my affection for the Lord?” With anything we do, especially with alcohol. Tread lightly or don’t tread at all. Always check your heart and your intentions, don’t see how close you can get to the line, but always pursue Christ in ALL that you do.
What are your beliefs on homosexual relationships, premarital sex, marriage, and dating?
I believe that the Bible is God breathed, inspired by the Holy Spirit, unchanging with time, and applicable in all circumstances. Just because we or our culture dislike what Scripture teaches, does jot mean we can ignore it, or cut it out entirely. We are aloud to dislike scripture, but never ignore it—we should never expect the creator of the universe to mold to our standards, but instead strive to understand and to live by His standards, and trust that he knows what is best for us. This is a hard topic because our world and culture will tell you that disagreeing with someone is the same as hating them. But we know this to be untrue as the most hateful thing we could do as a believer is allow someone to live in continual sin that may send them to eternal suffering. We must speak truth in love. If you take time to look, you will discover that Scripture is very clear when it comes to it’s stance on homosexuality. Romans 1 talks about how people began too worship the creation instead of the creator, and God gave them up to the passions of the flesh, men having relations with men, and woman also committing shameful acts with one another. Again, not my words but scripture. Homosexuality is sinful, and I believe the greatest danger of it is a misplaced identity, anything, especially sin, that we find our identity in other than Christ is satans biggest weapon against us.
Temptation to same sex attraction is not a sin, but that act of homosexuality is. We are called to love everyone, and know when to speak truth. We are called to love those outside the church, who are lost, no matter the sin, and point them to Christ, and never judge their decisions. BUT anyone who is inside the church or claims to be Christian, we ARE called to judge them (as commanded in scripture. 1 Corinthians 5:11-13) This is not a greater sin but it is also not lesser. All sin distorts our view and destroys the soul. Simply put: love others, hate sin, point to people Jesus. More scripture that speaks about this: Romans 1 26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:10, Genesis 19) (please text me at 5152106646 if you have any questions, I’d love to answer them!)
Again, just because we may not like the commands of scripture, that doesn’t mean we are allowed to ignore it our disagree with it, we are to trust that God as our creator knows what is best for us, and is never keeping something good from us. Sex is one of the greatest gifts from God WITHIN THE CONFOUNDS of the marriage covenant, but out-side the bounds of marriage, whether before you are married or with anyone that is not your spouse, it is extremely damaging. Paul even goes as for to say that it is the most damaging sin, along with any other sexual sin, such as, pornagrophy, masterbation, homosexuality, lust, and any other form of impurity or intamacy that leads to lust or sin outside of marriage. Paul says that sexaul inmorality is a sin against your own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 4. 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. — We are called to pursue purity in all ways and to preserve the beauty that the covenant of marriage holds and seek to obey the commands of Christ, knowing that He has our best interest in mind, never keeping us from good, but instead holding us back from things that look good but ultimately will destroy our souls. (The “Becoming Something” Podcast has great resources on this, please let me know if you would to know which ones)
This is one of the greatest institutions put in place by God, and is continually used as one of the greatest pictures of the Gospel and Christs relationship with His bride, the Church. I am married, to an incredible wife, and it’s incredible to see how true that is, marriage refines us and points us to the true marriage of us and Christ that is to come. Not everyone is called to be married, and Scripture goes as far to say that singleness is better, as you don’t have a spouse to please but ONLY Christ. If you are currently single (unmarried) that means that you currently have the gift of singleness, use it well, don’t waste it. Pursue Christ and pursue Christ like relationships. We are also called to be equally yoked, not only within marriage, but also within our closest relationships, especially dating and marriage. Marriage is also a life long commitment, never to be taken lightly, and not to be broken. Divorce is heartbreaking in any circumstance. Even though we continually break the covenant of our marriage with Christ, He continues to pursue us, he will never divorce his bride, no matter how many times we sin against Him. I have so much to say on this, a great resource that I encourage anyone to read is “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller. 1 Peter 3:7, Hebrews 13:4, Ecclesiastes 4:9–10, Ephesians 5:22–27)
Date with the intentions of marriage, if you’re not ready to pursue someone for marriage, don’t date. Set boundaries, pursue purity, pursue Christ, guard your heart and serve one another, always loving Christ more than the other person, and making sure that they love Him more than you. If you don’t think it’s a good idea to get married in high school, you probably shouldn’t date in high school, and if you do, be careful and be prayerful. If you have to justify an action, you probably shouldn’t do it. CHRISTIAN DATING IS NOT MEANT TO EASY! If you’re dating someone and it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong. If you are dating and pursuing Christ you will have to say no too many things your flesh will want to say yes to. Never look to culture on how to date, look to scripture. 2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.(“Outdated” by Jonathan Pokluda is an incredible resource on how to date as a christian in a modern world)
Some additional thought/points that relate to all of these topics.
Sexual purity is God’s best for you!
PURSUE BROTHERLY LOVE NOT SEXUAL ROBBERY.
We should not steal from another that which is not ours. (Sex is this outside of marriage)
All through Love.
Having sex outside of marriage will never be a love act.
Use dating to learn how to express love in a non-sexualized way.
Cultivate love not lust
It’s not just a you and Jesus issue, it’s a community and family issue.
Sexual purity demand living up to God’s holy commands!
We have no right to claim to follow God and then pick and choose what we want to follow!
If we reject sexual purity, we don’t just reject man but GOD!
I am not what I ought to be but I am not what I used to be!!
Jesus won’t rewrite your past but he will forgive you in the present and change your future!
What does being unashamed of the Gospel mean to you?
There's a difference from being shamed for the Gospel and being ashamed of the Gospel. If you are a faithful Christian you will be shamed for what you believe, but that does not mean you have to be a-shamed. We can not let the shame that comes upon us by others and by the world come into us and make us become ashamed. Look to Jesus, because shame doesn't get any worse than what He experienced. Jesus looked over His shame that was underserved and instead looked at The Joy set before Him. What's that Joy? Salvation. Hebrews 12:2 gives us our answer: "For the joy set before Him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus despised the shame. When shame had begun to threaten Him, He looked at shame in the face and said I DESPISE YOU. He said, Shame, I despise you. I will not yield to you. I will not give to you any satisfaction. You may do with me whatever you please – in the short run – but I will not obey you or follow you or give in to you. I despise you, shame, and will not let you rule me. Be unashamed of the Gospel means to share the love and salvation with Christ as often as you can, with anyone you can, no matter the circumstance.