March 18 – Hard Questions 2.0 – How to answer hard questions

Read James 1:19 and Colossians 3:12

One of the worst failings of my Christian walk was how I handled an attempt to share the Gospel with a close family member. My attempt was indignation cloaked in understanding, and superiority masked as empathy. Not surprisingly, it was ineffective. The fallout from that was years of separation, accompanied by broken trust which may never be completely repaired.  As I reflect on that situation, the primary thing that I failed to understand was that my family member had been wrestling with extremely deep, complex, and significant questions. They were crying out for wisdom and understanding, compassion and attention, and I trivialized their questions and misinterpreted their intent.

In our Christian walk, when we come across hard questions, I believe there are best ways to handle them. 

To start with, we must NOT be afraid to ask hard questions, and as Christians, we MUST acknowledge them. We cannot be lazy, and must seek the answers! If God is who He says He is and all wisdom is found in Christ, then we need not be afraid of being stumped. Ask God to reveal truth to you… it is the promised work of the Holy Spirit! 

In today’s passage, we are instructed to be “Quick to listen”, and “Slow to speak”.  Before telling a fellow brother or sister how they should think about a tough question, command yourself to be silent and listen FIRST. Listen to God, listen to that person’s heart and perspective. You may see evidence of God already at work in their life, and it’s usually more successful when you are partnering with God as opposed to trying to run out in front of Him!  

Secondly, you MUST be familiar with, and seek guidance from His Word. The Bible is the PRIMARY way in which God has revealed Himself to us today.  Combined with Creation and the gift of Jesus, God’s desire to be known to us is wrapped up in His perfect Word. Any answer to any difficult questions MUST be grounded in Scripture, for it to bear any semblance to the truth.  

What if you aren’t all that familiar with Scripture and don’t know where to look? There’s instruction for that as well… seek WISE COUNSEL.  This means to find another person, be it a friend, family member, pastor, co-worker, who is perhaps more able to help discern the best way to minister to a question you or someone you care about is struggling with.  God designed us to live in community, and part of the beautiful design is how He uses His peoples’ lives to build experiences and perspectives that help the church minister to a hurting world… ask God to show you someone who can help!  

Grace Church is here to walk with you through these types of situations!  There are small groups, Sunday school classes, ministries, and multiple pastors at Grace Church available to help find God’s will in everyday life, and to encourage those seeking God’s way in their life. Let’s not be afraid to ask tough questions, let’s be diligent and zealous in seeking answers, and let’s help those around us find peace through the wisdom offered by Jesus!

Craig French

March 17 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why should I think that Heaven really exists and that God sends people to Hell?”

Read Ecclesiastes 3:11, John 14:2-3 and Matthew 13:41-43

As I write this, I reflect that yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my dad’s passing from this world into his glorious new life with his Savior, Jesus. I opened my Bible to read today’s reading and, in the margin of John 14, I had written the name “Dad” as this was one of his favorite passages.

The Bible speaks countless times on the subject of both Heaven and Hell. There is no disputing that life on earth is temporary. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 5 and the writer of Hebrews (9:27) says that it is appointed unto men once to die.

But what lies beyond the grave?

How can we know for certain that Heaven and Hell exist? How do we know where we will spend eternity?

On the eve of His death, Jesus explained to His disciples that He would not be with them much longer. Peter, in his eagerness, questioned where Jesus was going and why he couldn’t come with Him. In this context, Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise of Heaven, assuring them that where He was going, they would be also. Thomas, the evidence seeker of the group, wanted to make sure he knew the way. Jesus said to him:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

There is no other way to Heaven than through His son, Jesus. Jesus is not a way. He is the way. Paul says that although our earthly house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1,8). 

However, because of sin, we all deserve the wrath of God. For all have sinned (disobeyed God) and have fallen short of God’s glory. And the wages (consequences) of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).

Perhaps the question we should ask is why wouldn’t God send people to Hell? What incredible grace (getting what we don’t deserve) and mercy (not getting what we do deserve) has been given to us through Jesus!

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8

His death satisfied God’s wrath and His resurrection from the dead conquered death and gives us new life – not only here on earth, but life eternal with Him after the grave.

For the past nine years my dad has been living in a very real place- Heaven. The day of his memorial service we sang one of his favorite hymns and, for the rest of my days here on earth, I, too, am living in “Blessed Assurance”.

How does what you read influence your view of God? Grace? In what way can you be joyous about our future in Heaven, as believers, and still be evangelistic towards the lost?

Charlene Engle

March 16 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “How can I trust in Christianity when so many Christians are hypocrites?”

Read Romans 3:23, Hebrews 12:2 and Matthew 23:1-36

The 2020 census taken by the US government tells us that over 70% of Americans identify as Christian. That means that when someone cuts you off in traffic, or is unkind to you at the store, or gossips about you online, there is a 70% chance that person is a Christian! With the wrong behaviors seen in our communities on a daily basis, it becomes quite clear that everyone, even Christians, are frequent offenders.

What does this say about the Church? What does this say about God?

Why should one trust the Christian church when it doesn’t seem to be working?

For starters, let’s remember another one of today’s verses; ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. “All” means “ALL”, as in “everyone”.) It’s important for those in the church to remember that passage to avoid notions of moral superiority and the need to condemn non-church-goers.  Christians should be screaming from the mountaintops; “I’M KNOW THAT I’M NOT PERFECT! I JUST KNOW THAT I’M FORGIVEN!” It’s important for those outside the church to understand that Christians identify as SINNERS saved by God’s grace. Expecting Christians to be morally perfect is unfair; it reveals a profound misunderstanding of who Christians are and how Christianity works.

Christians were sinners FIRST! 

In today’s lengthy passage in Matthew, try to imagine how cutting Jesus’ words were to the religious leaders of the day.  He repeatedly called them “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, “blind guides”, “blind fools”. These were political and religious leaders of the day; people who believed in God, endeavored to live for Him.

Jesus lit them up!

It’s easy to identify the sin of previous generations when we read about it in a book, or hear a description of a people’s past moral failing. C.S. Lewis calls it “chronological snobbery”. In 2023, are we so arrogant to think that any American church isn’t deserving of the same tongue-lashing?  

So then, why is this belief system to be trusted? How can Christianity be the solution, when those who know the solution seem so screwed up?  It’s because of the One who authored our faith – JESUS! HE said that He was the way to the Father, in spite of our sins. He lived a perfect, sinless, earthly life, and was crucified as a criminal anyway. He promised to defeat death, and rose back to life. Christians aren’t Jesus; they POINT to Jesus. The church isn’t the authority, it shows us in whom real authority resides.  Sin doesn’t point to an absence of God; it points to the NEED for God.  

If you are in a church, or are watching a church where hypocrisy is ripe, remember that the failings of the Christians are not the failings of the Christ. There’s no magic morality pill that fixes a person’s bad attitudes, bad habits, or wrong behaviors. What can be trusted is our Lord Jesus, “who endured the cross, despising the shame” made necessary by the past, present, and future failings of Christians worldwide.

Don’t judge Christianity by the temporal failures of its Christians; instead, judge it by the perfect sacrifice of its Savior!

Craig French

March 15 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why do you condemn homosexuality? I thought God created and loves everyone?”

Read 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and Genesis 2:24

A buddy of mine is a die-hard sports fan and once asked me to go to one of his favorite team’s games. Now, I personally could care less about who won but thought it would be a fun experience. This particular game, his team lost to a team they should easily have beat, leaving fans frustrated and even enraged.

As we were walking to my car in the parking garage, my friend was irate to say the least. He was yelling at the team, the city, the stadium…the whole 9 yards. The game’s outcome led him to condemn this particular city and the team within it.

It genuinely makes me sick to my stomach that many Christians have the same approach to dealing with homosexuality. We picket physically and blast digitally to the point that you can’t blame people for having a sour taste in their mouths whenever they think or hear about Christianity. We even take it upon ourselves to condemn people to Hell.

Logically, people are led to ask why we, as Christians, condemn homosexuality because, after all, God created and loves everyone.

First, I want to answer the question directly and then talk about what we believe about homosexuality and why.

The answer to the question is very simple:

It’s not our job to condemn anyone.

To take it a step further, consider the words of John 3:

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Jesus wasn’t even sent to condemn the world, so why would we think that’s our job?

People quote the truth of Genesis 2:24 and use it as ammo to attack other people:

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

While, yes, that is what we believe, it is easy for us to lose sight of our goal when interacting with people with different viewpoints, which is to close the gap between God and them…not push it farther away.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

God wants people to come to a knowledge of truth, period. Us berating people, either online or in person, is not going to accomplish that goal.

It’s only going to further the gap we are fighting to close.

The goal is to fight against sin. Homosexuality is a sin. Lust is a sin. Anger can be a sin. Using your words to tear others down is a sin. Binge eating is a sin. Self-harm is a sin. Pride is a sin.

Our job isn’t to condemn. Our job is to draw others to a personal relationship with Jesus.

Who can you reach out to today and encourage to pursue such a relationship? Who have you condemned, regardless of the sin, that you need to ask for their forgiveness? How can you fight for godly relationships and encourage others to do the same?

Jake Lawson

March 14 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why can’t I be left alone to make my own choices for my own body?”

Read Genesis 1:26-27 and Psalm 139:13-17

We live in a world where we are told we can be whoever we want to be and can change our bodies however we feel fit. Whether it be social media, news or television, this notion of “do whatever makes you happy or makes you feel like your authentic self” is such a loud message.

When answering the question, “Why can’t I be left alone to make my own choices for my own body?”, we have to remember that our bodies are not our own and so much more is at stake.

When you are a follower of Jesus, His Word is our guiding light in this broken world and there are certain standards set before us.

Observing what is written in Genesis and Psalms, we have to notice that there is a sense of authority which begs this question:

“Whose are you?”

There is such power in both of these verses because the Lord looks at His creation and, after calling it good, acknowledges there is need for more. He creates man with a standard, a purpose and authority over His creation. With creating man, Psalm 139 reminds us that He knew us before we were even a thought in our parents’ minds.

There is such care and love in these perspectives that it is hard to not see that God knows us best. With knowing us best, He also sees the purpose that our lives hold.

I remember sitting in Bible school when studying Leviticus 19 and the topic of tattoos came up.

Our pastor and teacher went on to give us the perspective contextually what the Lord was telling Moses, but gave us a principle from that passage that stays with me to this day.

He stated, “We must understand that every choice we make with our body will have consequences. Good or bad. We need to remember that our definition of good and bad is different than God’s. If you were called to be a missionary in a certain country and you had tattoos, that would cause a barrier between you and the purpose God called for your life. It limits what He can do with you.”

Think about that. If we did whatever we wanted with our bodies, it has the potential to limit what the Lord’s intent on our life is.

When you look at your body without the perspective of the Lord’s authority, it can very easily be difficult to not understand that His standards for your life and your body are holy.

So, I ask again, whose are you?

Who holds authority over your life, your choices, your body? Are you being a good steward of it?

Kelly Lawson

March 13 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “How can a good God allow evil, pain and suffering? Doesn’t He care?”

Read Romans 1:18-32, 6:23

If we’re all honest with ourselves, pain and suffering amongst God’s people is one of the most difficult concepts to reconcile with a just and loving God. On one hand, we hear that God promises to wipe every tear from our eye, and mend every broken heart. 


Ok; turn on the news. Hear about a bad medical diagnosis. How can a loving God allow all of this? If God is good, and God is love, then how is there so much evil and brokenness?  

Our passage today answers the question very succinctly.  SPOILER; it’s because SIN is not God’s way, and time and again, mankind has chosen OUR way over GOD’S way.  Here are a few highlights from Romans;

“God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…”

“(We) worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator”

“God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done”.

The beginning of understanding evil, pain and suffering begins with our SIN.  When God gives us directives, it is for OUR GOOD.  When we miss God’s mark, when we choose our own way over HIS way, there are natural consequences.  When looking at a broken, hurting world, remember that all of that brokenness is the result of people’s sin; choosing something opposite of God’s way. 

This still doesn’t explain why God allows sin. Think back to the garden with Adam and Eve.  They knew they weren’t supposed to eat the fruit, and ate it anyway. 

Did God allow them that choice?

God has many attributes; one is that He is JUST; and that means that God is RIGHT when he makes a judgment. God’s perfect justice implies that there is right and wrong to choose from. We also know that God desires relationship; what God desires most from us is our heart; our devotion. His desire to relate to us is part of the reason that we pray, part of the reason He sent His son to dwell amongst us, part of the reason He gave us His creation to enjoy. God allows sin as a means of teaching us that His way is BETTER.  The Holy Spirit uses sin to orient us towards Jesus…a broken, fallen world is part of what points to a BETTER WAY.

If you are struggling with this concept; start by acknowledging that you are NOT God, and, thus, need His wisdom and grace. Remember that He planned for evil, pain and suffering…His promises to walk through it WITH us are proof of that! If you are enduring something horrific, remember God has promised to “work all things for the good of those who love Him.” Evil and suffering isn’t proof that God is non-existent; rather, the good that flows out of the horrible circumstances shows the true character of an all-powerful, gracious God who wants us to trust Him. 

Stop looking at the pain, and start looking for what God is doing with it! 

Craig French

March 12 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Everyone knows Jesus was a good man and wise teacher…but Son of God?”

Read John 10:25, 33 and Mark 14:61

I’ve heard it said, more than once, that Jesus was a great man, teacher and prophet.

However, Jesus clearly claimed to be God in many places in the Bible!

In John 10, there is a group of Jews around Jesus and they say to Him: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” In verse 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” Then in verse 33, in answer to Jesus asking for what miracles were they stoning Him, their answer was “We are not stoning you for any of these” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Another time Jesus claims to be God is in Mark 14 when standing trial before the religious leaders. In verse 61, the high priest asks Jesus “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?”

“I am” said Jesus. The people listening all knew Jesus was claiming to be God so they condemned Him to death.

These are just two examples of Jesus claiming to be God, there are others.

So, what do we do with this?

Jesus didn’t say He was a teacher or a prophet, He says “I am God!”

If I were to tell you “I am God”, what would you think of me? You’d probably think I was crazy and you would be right. With Jesus, there is no middle ground, He either was and is God OR He was a lunatic!

Enough with this stuff that He was just a good man and a good teacher. Jesus claimed to be God and He proved it by dying on the cross and then raising from the dead after three days, just as He said He would!

Jesus also said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

So, the ball is now in our court. We can choose to believe that Jesus is God or that He was just a man. Not deciding is the same as not believing.

Our eternity hangs in the balance and if Jesus is God, which I totally believe He is, then He is the only way to peace with God the Father and therefore the only way to heaven.

What are YOU going to do with Jesus? What place is He going to have in your life? What impact does Jesus being God have on your outlook on faith?

Mike Molter

March 11 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why trust the Bible, a book based on myths and full of contradictions and mistakes?”

Read Galatians 3:16 and John 17:17

I admit that I still struggle with this very question. No, not because I believe the Bible is based on myths and full of contradictions and mistakes, but rather because it is difficult to explain this question to someone who doesn’t know Christ as their personal Savior.

Let me explain what I mean by this. I remember professors in college saying that you can get the notes from someone in class, but you truly won’t understand the material without being in the lecture. You can read the notes but, unless the teacher is there to help you interpret them, you won’t fully understand them.

To understand the Bible, we need a teacher, and that teacher is the Holy Spirit. You can read the Bible without the Spirit, but the Bible may seem foolish or seemingly contain mistakes or contradictions. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:14:

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

God’s word was inspired or “breathed out” by the Holy Spirit. Over 40 people over thousands of years under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible. The Holy Spirit is ultimately the author as He moved each human author to write what they did.

If the Holy Spirit wrote Scripture, we need His help to discern Scripture.

Galatians 3:16 says:

“The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds’, meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed’, meaning one person, who is Christ.”

This passage gives us a glimpse into how deliberate the words of the Bible are. Here, Paul makes a small distinction so that even the smallest detail is accurate to the inspiration that he was writing under.

But I understand that there are legitimate concerns or questions and I do not diminish that. The Bible can be difficult to understand and maybe you are struggling with doubts and questions. I encourage you to ask God for help. Ask Him to give you understanding. Ask Him to open your eyes to His truth. Jesus prays for His disciples in John 17:17:

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

The word sanctify means to set apart for sacred use or to make holy. God wants you to understand the truth so that you can grow and be more like His Son, Jesus.

I challenge each of you this week, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey, to ask a good Christian friend, family member, or church leader for help with your doubts or questions about the Bible, faith, Jesus, or any other question you may have.

How can you engage with the Bible to grow your faith and understanding in Jesus? What next steps do you need to take in your faith?

Ethan Cline

March 10 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why rely on religion in an age of science and knowledge?”

Read Hebrews 11:1

We’ve all benefited from advances in science.

Give yourself just one minute, and I bet you could easily curate a long list of how science has contributed to the well-being and progress of society: health and healthcare, agriculture, technology, communication, transportation, exploration, manufacturing etc.

Think about how much science has contributed to our present understanding of the natural world, our solar system, and the universe.

And we keep learning more!

Britain’s Science Council defines science this way:

“Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.”

If you Google it, you’ll find slight variations to this definition – some more detailed, others more general – but I think you’ll find that all of them agree on what science deals with: the natural and social world.

And science has a process which you learned about it in high school called the “scientific method”. It requires observation, developing a hypothesis, testing, gathering data, and revising your hypothesis as necessary based upon what you learn.

And we’ve gotten so good at this, that sometimes what we thought we knew, we didn’t know as well as we thought, because we discover new insights and new truths, which revise what we once thought. It’s all part of the process. And we welcome it! Because we’re learning.

But I digress. Let’s get back to what science deals with: the natural world and the social world.

And that’s where if falls short in terms of the human condition. Remember, we are not mere physical beings. We are both physical AND spiritual.

You can’t rely on science for the spiritual part. Science can’t address the longings of your heart (Proverbs 13:12, 19). It can’t assuage the guilt you feel because of our sin. It can’t clear your conscience. It doesn’t grant you forgiveness. It doesn’t provide you with hope. It’s not a source of love.

Why rely on religion in an age of science and knowledge? Because science doesn’t address the essence of who we are. It can explain some of the physical part (though imperfectly), but it doesn’t provide a remedy for the heart.

Faith in Jesus does. He is our confident hope and assurance.

Everything that science deals with will one day be no more. But you, my friend, have a soul that will live for eternity.

It’s been said similarly before, if our greatest need had been technology or an explanation about the physical world, God would have sent a scientist. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

Have you ever struggled in your faith due to the relationship between science and faith? What new perspective has faith given you? What all has faith given you?

David Lawson

March 9 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “What makes you so sure God exists?”

Read Psalm 19:1 and Isaiah 40:25-26, 28.

“What makes you so sure God exists?”

This is a question as old as time. If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked yourself this question and have probably also been asked this question. 

For me, personally, I have seen the ways that God has come through. The times that He has protected my family or opened an opportunity. The people that He has brought into my life who point me to Him. I’ve also seen His majesty through His magnificent sunsets and the intricate nature of an insect. 

God exists because He says so. This can be hard to take, because we tend to like detailed reasoning, but with God – who created the heavens and the earth – there is no need. He exists because He is the great I AM (Genesis 3:14-15). Jesus then reaffirms this in the New Testament, saying “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58).

The beauty of the Bible is that proof of God is woven throughout every line.

While faith is trusting in what we cannot see, God knows the people that He has created. He does not have to give us proof, but He knows that we like evidence. So, while we cannot know or see everything, His evidence is all around. He has made Himself abundantly clear to those who are willing to look. His handiwork is everywhere, from the amount of hairs on a head (Luke 12:7) to the vast skies and the unique sunrises and sunsets (Psalm 19:1). He uses every little – or big – thing to proclaim His glory. The key is, you have to be willing to look. 

Next time you get a chance, look up at the sky. Think about the billions of stars. Isaiah 40 says that they are like an army. God knows each one by name. He is strong in power and does not miss a thing. Isaiah 40:28 tells us that He is everlasting and created the ends of the earth. His understanding is unsearchable, but He gives us what we need in order to trust. 

As you go about your day, where can you see God’s handiwork? Where is the evidence in your life that God exists? 

God loves us so much that He has given us more than enough evidence to know that He not only exists, but that He loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His son to live, die and come back to life so that we can be united with Him (1 John 4:10). And the life of Jesus has been historically proven. 

What impact does God’s existence have in your life? Your faith? The world?

God is real and alive, friends. Live in that power today. 

Chloe Boucher