Should We Submit to Poor Leadership and Authority?

The Bible gives us many examples of people who had to follow unstable leaders (e.g. David, Joseph, and Daniel).

Because people are imperfect, you’ll always follow imperfect leaders. Focusing on the value they do add to your life is key.

Remember, your relationship with authority tends to say more about you than it does about your leader.

How Do We Practice Emotional Restraint When Dating?

Miles says it’s important to limit how fast the emotional intimacy grows in a dating relationship. Many couples play “pretend marriage” in their dating relationship, but dating should be special. Miles suggested seeing each other a couple times a week, texting a couple times a week, and leaving things at that. Miles advises not to think too far ahead when dating, which creates a “fake” intimacy where commitment doesn’t match up.

We often used the word “love” too quickly; marriage is the ultimate expression of love and because love is more than merely an emotional commitment, using the word love in a relationship should mean that a commitment of marriage is eminent.

How Should We Date and Save Sex For Marriage?

There are two paths we can choose: the path of promiscuity, or the path of purity. The path of promiscuity begins with desperation, where we are alone and feel the aloneness deeply. This need leads to infatuation, which assigns characteristics to the other person that will fulfill our desperation. From there we move to isolation, and all we want to do is be alone with them, and that leads to unhealthy level of consumption, where we exclude everything else from our lives. Then we get to the point of concession where we decide either to just go ahead and get married, or break it off and begin alone again. This is an unhealthy cycle.

The path of purity begins with dependence – trusting God to fulfill your life. Then you move to interest, which is getting to know the other person. From interest, you lead to invitation; in this phase you are not leaving your life, but rather inviting that partner to speak into your life. Contribution means that the other person inspires and challenges you to be all you can in Christ. The final stage is creation, where the relationship you created – which may or may not lead to marriage – stands on its own.

Why No Sex Before Marriage?

There are two big relational principles in the Bible that we can bring into dating: one is commitment, and the other is intimacy.

It makes sense that God would reserve the deepest level of intimacy (sex) for the highest level of commitment (marriage). Until marriage, any other commitment can be described as “we’re exclusive, for now.” But as we know, that can change. So when you add the deepest level of intimacy to the mix, it does not line up with the level of commitment you experience, leading to heart break.

Our Decisions Lead to Our Destiny

Our decisions as young adults translate to our long-term destiny. Miles identified five key areas where there are significant impacts: faith, values, relationships, career, and money. As we are growing up, we tend to reflect our parents in these areas. But as young adults, we transition to making our own decisions. How we make these transitions impacts our lives for years to come.

Is Trauma Necessary For Our Kids to Know God Intimately?

Satan will use the trouble and trauma from your past to create fear in you for your children. As your children mature, share with them appropriate information from your past. Tell them about the difficulties you endured and how God was there to comfort you and restore you. Show them how God redeemed the situation. Doing this will transfer some of your intimacy with the Lord to your children. Life is never easy. Your kids will need that foundation when their own troubles arise.

How Should Christians Handle Infertility?

When heartache hits, it is healthy to grieve and normal to question God. While we may not ever find a specific answer to our questions, we do know from Scripture that God does what he does so that his glory might be revealed in us, and that it is not consistent with his character to imagine that he is using circumstances to punish us (John 9:1-3).

In your heartache, turn to God, not away from him.  Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach his throne of grace with confidence, for there we will receive mercy and find grace to help up us in our time of need.

Ask God about the possibility of medical interventions. Go as far as God gives you permission to go. God might want you to pursue fostering, adoption, or to find other ways to be a positive influence in children’s lives. Lay your desire for a child at his feet and ask him for his direction.

If you have friends who are walking this tumultuous path, stick close by. They will need you to lean on and pray with them.

How Do We Revitalize and Grow Our Spirituality?

There are principles we can apply to grow close to God and press into our relationship. Recognize that every believer has times in their walk when things feel more “dry” – this doesn’t mean God loves you any less or that your salvation is at risk. God may be allowing our faith wells to “dry up” to push us into deeper relationship with Him.

First, it’s important to vary the ways you encounter God to discover new dimensions about who He is.

Second, in order to grow this relationship – as you would any other relationship – you must invest time and effort. When you continue to pursue God, even when you don’t feel it emotionally, you are going deeper than you realize, because spending time listening to God is never wasted time. God’s word “will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

How Can I Encourage My Older Parents to Get Into Church Community?

Parent/child relationships can be difficult to navigate when one is trying to convince the other to change a course of action, especially when the tables turn and an adult child is doing the persuading.

If your relationship with your parent is a good one, pray for an open door in which to share your concerns. The thing you can best help others with is what they can best hear from you. Pointing out how their faithful commitment to community when you were young was one of the kindest things they taught you, and that you’re still practicing that, might well be the key that reminds them of the importance of continued community. If not, however, pray that God will put someone in your parents’ path that they will listen to.

In the end, though, you have to let go of the things you can’t fix and trust that God will provide the results. God loves and cares for your parents more than you ever could.

How Should Men Rise Above Lust?

Battling lust is not a recent struggle, nor is it an issue confined solely to men; different things tempt each gender. As Christ followers, rising above lust requires God-honoring boundaries to be placed around natural, God-given desires.

Luke 6:45 says,

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

In other words, what you feed on, you lead from. In order to rise above lust, or any other sin that tempts, one first has to make an internal decision that he or she wants to make a change and begin to feed on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). It is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed (Romans 12:2).

Second, master the art of making a right decision in that 2-3 second window of opportunity after temptation hits and pray that God will help you make the choices that honor him. Finally, find 2-3 godly people who agree together with you to fight for righteousness and let them hold you accountable.

How Do We Teach Our Kids the Proper Perspective of Marriage?

If you have a great marriage, you take care of this. When you build a model of what God values in marriage in an imperfect marriage, your kids will learn how to have one too because kids get their core values out of the environment in which they are raised.

If you’re from a broken family, be intentional about spending time with people who have great marriages. Utilize the community within the church to help expose your kids to couples who have healthy relationships. Point out to your kids what’s healthy, and help them learn from it.

When Should Our Kids Be on Social Media?

Kids model what they see, and the world of social media is a world of frenzy. There is no rational framework to guide a productive conversation online, so keeping them off social media until they are prepared to handle it is the best strategy.

We don’t need to send our kids out to fight battles adults can’t get right. Part of what is wrong with our society is we stir up divisions, just to keep our political power, with people who shouldn’t even be in the conversation. Unless your child has a gifting for debate and interaction, let your kid be a kid.

Should We Shield Our Kids From Our World’s Horrors?

As parents, we should have big conversations about big issues with our kids at the appropriate age. PK recommends starting those conversations around middle school if possible.

But when the world creeps in early, it’s important for us to answer our kids’ questions at their age level, without adding in details that would only confuse them. Use the Bible as the foundation for thinking, and teach your kids how to think instead of what to think.

The truth is we can’t shield our kids from the world’s horrors. But we can teach them how to think through those horrors in a godly way.

How Would You Guide a Parent to Handle a Prodigal Adult Child?

When a child raised to love God and Christian values makes the decision to walk away from the faith, it’s devastating. PK said once you’ve grieved the loss, avoid condemning your child for their decision. Instead, focus on building a strong relationship built on other shared commonalities. Realize that for a season, these kids may stray (as perhaps you yourself have done at times!), but in due time they may encounter a situation where they re-embrace their faith. Pray like crazy for these kids, so the Holy Spirit will intervene in their lives and draw them back.

With prodigal adult children, focus on continuing to strengthen the relationship, avoiding condemnation and praying like crazy for God to intervene.

If Our Kids Are Bullied, Do We Teach Them to Turn the Other Cheek?

What you teach your kids about bullying depends on their age and developmental stage, but there are certain principles that Christian parents should live by.

First, we need to teach our kids that not everyone loves like Jesus.

Second, we need to teach our kids that they don’t have to endure bullying and they can talk with their parents when it happens.

Third, we need to commit to helping our kids by addressing the issue with the proper authorities (teachers, school administrators, the parents of the bullying child).

Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but that doesn’t mean we should become a whipping post. Our kids have the right to know that they can push back against bullies.

At What Point Do You Practice Tough Love to Your Kids at Home?

The earlier you win the battle of wills, the clearer it becomes for children that they are meant to be in submission to their parents. For some personalities, this gets easier with age. With others, it can be a constant battle. But remember, parenting wasn’t meant to be easy. Draw strength from the Lord, and focus on the end goal: independent, self-led adults.

How Do We Raise Kids Spiritually When We Don’t Know the Bible Well?

Chances are, you know the Bible better than you think. Focus on the verses and stories you do know and engage your children faithfully. You may find that as you teach, you also learn, and you begin to crave more of God’s word.

Be sure to also set a culture for honoring faith and God’s commandments. How you live is equally important to what you teach. When you set aside a day for rest and demonstrate the life of a Christ-follower (through regular prayer, service, and giving, etc.), you’re teaching your kids to do the same.

How Should We Speak up About When We See Injustice?

First things first, settle your tone. How you speak is just as important as what you say. Never represent Jesus in a hateful, disrespectful tone.

Go to God about what grieves your spirit and allow Him to guide your response. Only after you’ve settled your frustrations in prayer, go make a meaningful difference.

And beware social media! You must go beyond mere words for your life to point others to fresh hope and transformation through Jesus Christ.

How Important Is Fasting?

Spiritual warfare often requires intense prayer and fasting, and God can use this time to awake your soul. That’s because when you temporarily set aside the indulgence of food to intentionally focus on prayer, something shifts.  You begin to long for something far beyond physical needs.

Including your family in prayer is always recommended. If you’re considering inviting your family to fast with you, please set limits and adapt accordingly.  (Note: It is not recommended for young children.)

How Should We Talk With Kids About Evolution?

The world has taught us that a scientist who is an atheist has no agenda, while a Christian scientist has one. That’s not true. God gave us science to uncover clues that point to Him. As a parent, you should talk about these issues with your kids so they understand where you stand. We should focus on solving the issue of evolution for our children, not for the rest of the world.

PK uses the Genesis Apologetics app to guide him through conversations on issues like evolution, age of the earth, and other questions.

How Should Christians Approach Mental Health Issues?

There are unique implications for every person – and family – dealing with mental health issues. Often, medication can help someone be their best and better engage with the world. But remember, that’s not our only resource as Christians!

God can do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can imagine. The exercise of our faith coupled with a humble dependence on the Lord have unrivaled power.

How Can We Start To Understand the Complexities of The Bible?

Without knowing the framework of the Bible, it’s difficult to understand its teachings and how to apply them to your life. Pastor Kevin gives an overview of the Bible from beginning to end in Everybody and Puzzled by the Bible.

In each of these series, you’ll be directed to specific Bible readings, and then in the series’ messages, Pastor Kevin unpacks the overarching Biblical theme and provides context. The series are similar in their material, but unique in their packaging. Everybody is the most recent. Select either series and begin your study.

How Can an Individual Fight Injustice?

We tend to overcomplicate and underestimate these issues. How you handle a big issue makes the biggest difference. When individuals like that come together as a church, it makes an impact—that’s why #OneMatters at 12Stone.

The most practical thing any Christian can do is ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what he or she is uniquely wired to address, and seek to make a difference there. Where God puts your heart, He usually gives you unique favor and influence.

How Do I Deal With The Fear Surrounding Racial Tensions?

PK made it clear: there is no superior or inferior race in God’s creation.

In Acts 7, when Peter realized that through Christ everyone is equal, the cure for racism was made known. The only way that hearts will change is through Jesus alone.

Society tends to enjoy the conflict because it’s leveraged for power—but the true power is found in God. The legitimate fears must be brought before God and His sovereignty, because what we are, we transfer to others. When we live in peace, we can share that peace with others.

Should Christians Be More Involved Politics Beyond Voting?

There is no directive in Scripture that commands Christians to do anything more than pray for their leaders in government, with the understanding that God is Sovereign over all things.

PK encourages believers to vote and to even share their opinions on political matters, but with wisdom and grace. If we are going to step into the political arena, we must be sure we are studying God’s Word and conforming to God’s Will to bring His grace into the situation.

How Should We Engage With the LGBTQ Community?

The Bible defines many actions and beliefs as “sin.” While homosexuality is clearly called a sin, so are greed, envy, adultery, gluttony…the list goes on and on. Perhaps just as important as being able to define “sin” is to understand all the Word says about it, including how we are to treat sinners.

In Matthew, we are told not to judge others, lest we be judged ourselves. In John, we are told to feel free to cast stones at a sinner, as long as we are first free of sin ourselves (none of us can do that). In other words, it is not our responsibility or right as Christians to judge others; that day will surely come, and none of us will sitting in the judgment seat.

Rather, we are to accept all in love, just as Christ did; acceptance without approval is not only possible; it is a clear demonstration of God’s love.

The LGBTQ community is welcome at 12Stone – just as people from every community are. If we were to refuse the LGBTQ community because of their sin, we would have to exclude ourselves, too, because we’re all sinners.

We all fall short of the glory of God. That’s why we need Jesus! But we can certainly lead with love and compassion without giving approval.

As a footnote, social media just doesn’t seem to be the place to hash out disagreements like this or any other “sin.” No one is won over to a faith of love and salvation by browbeating or tongue- lashing.

How Do We Guard Our Kids But Also Let Them Engage in Culture?

As is true of so many questions centered around how to live in a world moving further away from God, perspective is key. If we see life and the world from God’s perspective and not the “me” perspective, the answer is clear.

Christ admonished us to live in the world, but not to be of the world. It’s impractical – impossible – to live isolated from others (from “the world”). Christ tells us to walk alongside our fellow beings, but to live a life that reflects Him and His teachings, on rooted in the Word. By doing this, we teach our children key, and often difficult, lessons about life. We teach them them to live alongside unbelievers, while living the life of a Believer. This shows others the love of Christ and reveals Him through our own lives.

Keeping To God’s Moral Compass Today

We must approach questions by first understanding our circumstances: we are an outside-in (God-centered) people living in an inside-out (me-centered) world. The secret comes from Jesus’s high priestly prayer in John 17:15-16:

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

As God’s children, we must be in the world without being of it. That means we must draw close to God and His church, because we must be continually reminded of where our center lies: in Christ alone. When we feed ourselves on God’s Word and His Will, we find the strength to lead from that space as we respond to the culture.