Every Captive Thought

Comfort in Times of Struggle

A quote from my former pastor, John Swanson who passed into glory seven years ago.

My dear friends, God loves you and so he is constantly placing you in seemingly impossible situations. He is continually confronting you with your wickedness and your inability to change. He is confronting you with your powerlessness to provide for yourself and care for yourself so that you will discover that you need a Savior. Now he lifts up before your eyes this great Savior, Jesus Christ, who lived as a slave of men, who was despised, who was rejected but who is now raised from the dead and sits at God’s right hand waiting that final day. He offers himself to you as a Savior.

He can do for you what you cannot do for yourself. He can change your heart. He can deliver you from wrath. He can provide all you need to make it safely to heaven. Just as Pharaoh and his advisors could find no other man who was as wise and discerning as Joseph, upon whom the Spirit of God rests, so there is no other Savior than Jesus Christ. He is the only man whom God has appointed as your Savior. All other Saviors are false Saviors. TV will not deliver you from the wrath to come. Your investments will not deliver you from the wrath to come. Your own goodness will not deliver you. Allah will not deliver you. Sex will not deliver you. Good grades and a good job will be of no avail. New clothes, a new car, a new husband will not rescue you.

Your greatest problem is your sin. The greatest danger you face is the just anger of God against your sin. Your greatest need is a Savior from your sin. Christ alone is that Savior. Abandon all other hopes and flee to him. Give yourself to him and he will preserve your life when the wrath comes.


If Abortion Kills a Child, There Can Be No Exceptions

“I’m not ok with abortion. I’m pro-life all the way. But, I think there should be an exception for rape and incest.”

If you’ve spent any time following the abortion debate, you’ve likely heard someone express that sentiment. You may have even said that yourself. But, when taken to its logical conclusion, this argument is irrational and, I would argue, more pro-choice than pro-life.

In an emotionally-charged debate, like the one around abortion, it’s not surprising to find people using emotion to make their decisions and form their opinion. Emotionally, it feels wrong that a woman who was raped or the victim of incest should have to carry and give birth to a baby. And, yes, emotionally, it’s got to be hard to say that to the face of a woman dealing with that very situation.

We can argue all day long about the emotions of the issue.

“The baby was forced on her, so she shouldn’t be forced to give birth.” “The baby will be a reminder of the trauma in her life in the future.”

Or, the emotions on the other side.

“The people whose mothers were raped and chose to give birth to them make a compelling argument for why they should be allowed to live.”

“The mothers who were raped and chose to have the baby calling it the ‘best decision they ever made’ also make a good point.”

Those are interesting and thought-provoking arguments from both sides, but at the end of the day, we cannot allow emotion to rule when deciding the fate of the unborn.

If a person is against abortion because it is the taking of an innocent human life, there is no logical way to have any exception. If the baby is a person created in the image of God from the moment of conception (which they are), then the route to that conception has no bearing on the right to life for that child. Just because the child was conceived in horrific circumstances doesn’t justify murder of the child.

True, these situations are heart-wrenching and life-altering for the mothers involved, which is why the church must rally around these mothers and provide them the support they need. We need to be helpful before, during, and after the baby’s birth and do so in humble love. Christians cannot be seen to only be pro-life until the baby is born, and then walk away and say, “You’re on your own. We’ve done our part.” The support must continue.

To truly be pro-life though, means in every circumstance, in every case, through every emotion, we are for preserving the life of the child. Anything less is misguided emotion more fitting of the pro-choice movement.

A Fetus That Was Born

Apparently, the “plug my ears and saying ‘I can’t hear you’” defense is the latest for the pro-abortion crowd.

The amount of bending over backward they need to do to deny the fact that the unborn are babies would make even Simone Biles jealous.

Aaron Rodgers and the Deficiency of the Youth Group Culture

As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I’m also a die-hard Packer fan. That’s why it was so disheartening to see my quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, discuss Christianity on Danica Patrick’s podcast.

The world of elite athletes certainly mirrors that of non-athletes when it comes to percentages of Christians vs. Non-Christians. There are some that we hear about from time to time that are strong, outspoken Christians. There are some who have no concern for faith or the things of God. And there are those who would call themselves “Christians,” but have no true or abiding faith. No different than anywhere else.

The fact that Aaron Rodgers isn’t a Christian wasn’t some big revelation or shock. What I saw in his telling his story is the utter failure of the seeker-sensitive movement as a whole, and the youth group culture specifically. And those failures are widespread and reach far beyond the world of professional athletes.

To begin, Aaron mentions growing up like me - being forced to go to church by well-meaning parents but not really enjoying it or being moved by it. Not an uncommon story. But, when he found a youth group through a friend called Young Life he felt connected and a part of something. In comparing the two, he said:

There were two groups-church on Sundays and Young life on Mondays. And Young life on Monday welcomed everyone. It was like ‘come as you are’ - be here at 7:29 and be ready for some fun. And it was fun. We had a great time.

That’s very telling, is it not?

The group was “fun” - that’s why he went. Not that the gospel was preached, not that Jesus was exalted, but that a group of kids got together for some fun. Is it any wonder that the seeds of the gospel didn’t take root in his life? It’s no wonder then, when the fun was over and he went to college, he “didn’t find any connections with the Christian groups there.”

He wasn’t really connected to a Christian group in the first place. If Young Life is anything like most youth groups today, a thin veneer of Jesus was painted over a lot of fun times, thereby failing to build the connection necessary to draw Christians together - namely, Christ. Once the fun is over and you don’t have that common bond, there’s nothing there to keep you connected.

That failure to build a strong connection based on Christ, and poor teaching (or a failure to properly teach) both at church and in the group, leads him to ultimately one of the most common objections to Christianity we hear.

I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of His creation to a fiery hell. What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn most of His creation to a fiery Hell at the end of all this?

If you’ve ever interacted with or heard a non-believer’s objection to Christianity, you’ve likely heard that same argument in some form.

Isn’t it interesting though that Aaron, and so many others, don’t ask the reverse (and, incidentally, correct) question? They don’t seem to ponder “why would a good, loving, and HOLY God, who cannot look upon sin, bring anyone to Heaven? Why doesn’t everyone go to Hell?” That’s the question they should be asking, but don’t.

It’s much easier to discredit God because He doesn’t fit into your fallen idea of morality than it is to see His standard as the standard, and conform your life to that.

Now, why do I go on and on about this one interview? Is it because it’s Aaron Rodgers and I’m a Packers fan and I want to see Aaron Rodgers saved?

Sure, but no more than I’d like to see the checker at the grocery store or the guy in the cubicle next to me at work saved. But, again, that’s not my focus here. My focus is how the seeker-sensitive movement and Christian youth group culture has failed generations of children and young adults. When church and, by extension, a youth groups just become another social interaction with no grounding in the gospel, an opportunity is lost and we do a disservice to those people and dishonor Christ.

Even if, in all the fun, the gospel was preached to Rodgers, it obviously was overshadowed by the activities and good times and not emphasized rightly or taught correctly. That’s the tragedy.

As is often said, what you win them with you win them to. In this case, sadly, that was nothing more than a good time. I pray that Christians will wake up to this minimalization of the gospel and repent in order to point people of all ages to Christ as their joy.