Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000013A
00:01 I don't understand.
00:04 Why did this have to happen to me?
00:07 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:11 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:21 You know, in life, all of us have
00:22 really intense, deep questions
00:25 that really get to the core of who we are.
00:27 We wrestle with things we want to know,
00:30 like what we should do in certain situations,
00:31 how to think about certain things.
00:34 Welcome to Raw Questions, Relevant Answers
00:36 where we are endeavoring to put answers
00:39 on to some of those raw, relevant questions
00:41 that we have.
00:43 My name is Mark Paden,
00:44 and I'm joined by my two co-hosts,
00:45 Michelle Doucoumes and Dee Caspar.
00:49 And we, today,
00:50 have several different questions
00:52 about different topics that we're going to be addressing.
00:56 These were sent in to us from different individuals
00:59 across the country.
01:01 This first one comes from a college student
01:03 in the state of Tennessee.
01:05 "I wear jewelry and have tattoos,
01:08 but I love Jesus Christ
01:09 and I'm in love with the Adventist message.
01:11 Why is it not okay for me to be a leader at my church?
01:15 Why do I get all kinds of looks?
01:17 I ask this question from a standpoint of love
01:20 and with the spirit of a learner."
01:23 That's a big question.
01:25 You know, I think all of us on some level relate to having
01:28 that experience where we feel like people are looking at us
01:30 like we're different or awkward,
01:34 and that really shouldn't be.
01:35 I mean, no matter how someone comes into a church looking,
01:39 that shouldn't be the judge of their spirituality
01:42 or their walk with God.
01:43 And for the person asking this question,
01:45 I don't know where they're at.
01:47 I mean, as I've studied the Bible,
01:50 it helped me to see certain things
01:51 about some of those topics
01:53 that dictate why I live the way that I do
01:56 or dress the way that I do.
01:58 And there may be those in the church
02:00 that have studied those things and come to conclusions too,
02:04 but all of that being said,
02:06 that doesn't mean that
02:08 just because maybe you have different conclusions
02:10 or have not studied some things
02:12 or aren't convicted on some things
02:14 that people should treat us differently.
02:16 Now when it comes to leadership in the church,
02:18 it is kind of tricky
02:20 because every church decides,
02:23 "All right, what are our qualifications
02:24 for leadership?
02:26 What is going to represent the church?"
02:28 And so maybe they have made some decisions
02:31 that are hard to understand,
02:32 you might want to talk to your church leadership
02:34 about that,
02:36 and there can be some people that can help to explain
02:38 why, hopefully, some of those decisions are made.
02:41 I mean, sometimes there can be misunderstandings
02:43 because there isn't full communication.
02:45 Sometimes assumptions can be made.
02:48 We don't know where this person is
02:49 as far as when they made the decisions
02:50 for some of the choices they've made.
02:52 For instance, with tattoos,
02:53 you know, if like there's something
02:55 they don't have a problem with now
02:56 but or have a problem with now
02:58 but didn't but they're just there.
03:00 There's a wide variety of things
03:01 that we can't fully know in this situation,
03:02 but what we can know is
03:04 anytime someone walks through the door
03:05 of a Seventh-day Adventist Church,
03:07 it's a miracle,
03:08 any Christian church for that matter
03:10 because it's a blessing that God has brought them
03:12 to our house of worship that day.
03:14 It's also a miracle and a blessing
03:16 when someone would like to be involved actively
03:18 in a local church.
03:21 I remember reading in a book and it is called
03:22 The Desire of Ages
03:24 that says that "There would be one hundred workers
03:25 where there is now one,
03:26 if people wouldn't repress through zeal."
03:29 And so we need to be careful that whenever...
03:30 There are people who have a desire to serve God
03:33 and want to actively serve Him in a local church setting,
03:36 our churches or in all churches are longing for people
03:39 who want to be active participants,
03:41 and there's room in the kingdom
03:43 for all of them,
03:44 and there's room in the vineyard
03:45 to harvest for God for all of them,
03:48 and whatever means that we can help
03:49 to use people we should,
03:51 and I appreciate the fact
03:53 that they genuinely and earnestly want to know
03:55 as they phrase their question,
03:56 and I value that immensely.
03:58 I also just want to point out that I love the fact that
04:00 they're saying, "I love Jesus
04:02 and I'm in love with the Adventist message."
04:04 Yes. Yes. That's awesome.
04:05 I'm really thankful for that. Yeah.
04:07 Let's go ahead and hit our next question.
04:10 This comes from a female, age 26,
04:12 in the state of California.
04:14 "In a world where so many "good kids"
04:16 are leaving the church in their 20s after college,
04:19 how do we show compassion, friendship, and love
04:23 balanced with standing true to principle
04:25 to win these friends back to the church?"
04:28 I think, first and foremost,
04:30 my objective with people that I have that are friends
04:33 who may not be in the same page as me,
04:36 whether the people that used to be part of my faith
04:38 and then left, whether the family members or whatever,
04:41 I want to be a safe place for them in their life.
04:44 Someone that they can talk to about anything,
04:46 and that I'm very selective in how I go about communicating
04:49 certain things with them
04:50 because I realize they're not there right now,
04:52 they don't want to deal with those things,
04:53 does that mean that my principles change?
04:55 No, but there's already somewhat of an understanding,
04:57 particularly if they were in the same boat with you
04:59 and then left,
05:01 they already know what you believe,
05:02 they don't need that reminder right now in most instances.
05:05 What they need you to know that is
05:07 in the same way in which you treat them,
05:09 it's how God would treat them.
05:10 That's kind of how I try to live my life.
05:12 God still has love for them,
05:14 God still has a desire for them to be a part of His work,
05:17 God has still has a desire for them
05:18 to be part of the family of God,
05:20 and we need to make that clear.
05:22 And so if we treat them like they have cooties
05:24 or we want nothing to do with them
05:25 because their lifestyle has changed,
05:27 we need to have barriers and boundaries,
05:29 certainly, we can't partake of what they do,
05:31 but try to find ways to connect and have a common ground
05:34 as much as you can
05:36 because we want to see them in the kingdom.
05:37 And the more godly people that are winsome
05:41 they have in their life,
05:42 the better chance they have of coming back, right?
05:46 Something that I have found
05:47 is that with a lot of young people
05:48 who have left church,
05:51 coming back can be an intimidating thing
05:53 or thinking about it
05:54 because a lot of times,
05:55 there's been hurt that's happened,
05:57 there's been disenchantment that's happened.
06:00 And so there's kind of this feeling like yeah,
06:03 maybe somewhat like the person in the previous question,
06:05 "Well, people wouldn't really accept me there."
06:09 And so I do think a big thing that we can do is
06:12 people who've known a lot about God,
06:15 sometimes have a lot of "truth" supposedly
06:17 but they haven't seen a lot of love.
06:20 And what they may need most is someone to love them
06:24 towards God.
06:25 That doesn't mean loving the things that they do,
06:28 but living our lives in a way that shows them that,
06:31 "Hey, we still love you
06:33 even though you're making some choices
06:35 that may not be the best."
06:37 I think of Romans 14:7, it says,
06:39 "None of us lives from self and no one dies to himself.
06:43 Each of us shall give an account to God," verse 12,
06:46 verse 8, "For we live, we live to the Lord.
06:48 If we die, we die to the Lord."
06:50 Are we living our life as to the Lord,
06:53 not to ourselves,
06:55 we're accountable to our brethren
06:57 for how we come across for what we say,
06:59 we do, or what we do.
07:00 And one big thing I would say with that is
07:03 live your life as an example of what true Christianity is.
07:07 Sometimes the biggest thing that's hard for people to see
07:10 is a real Christian
07:12 and they may not be as open right now,
07:14 but as things happen
07:16 and I've seen this with my friends
07:17 as crises happen, as problems happen,
07:19 I've had some of those friends be the one to call me
07:22 because they know that I love God
07:25 and have a connection with God,
07:27 and when they're looking for that,
07:29 that relationship causes a bridge where they open up.
07:33 And they know that you love them, right?
07:34 Yes. Yeah.
07:36 There's a quote that's been really helpful for me
07:37 on this topic,
07:39 Testimonies for the Church, volume five,
07:40 it says this,
07:42 "As Christ pitied and helped us in our weakness and sinfulness,
07:45 so should we pity and help others.
07:47 Many are perplexed with doubt,
07:49 they're burdened with infirmities,
07:51 their weakened faith
07:52 and they're unable to grasp the unseen.
07:55 But a friend whom they can see coming to them in Christ stead
07:59 can be as a connecting link to fasten their trembling faith
08:03 upon God.
08:04 Oh, this is a blessed work."
08:07 They can't see Him right now, but they can see you,
08:10 and if they see Him in you,
08:12 it's going to be far better for them than anything else.
08:15 You know, another example of this too is
08:16 how Christ dealt with His disciples.
08:18 You know, each of them were very...
08:20 I mean, look at their characters,
08:22 look at what Peter eventually ended up doing,
08:24 he denied His Lord, it's a serious offense.
08:27 And they were very rough in character,
08:30 yet Christ knew that their best chance was
08:33 association with Him.
08:35 Now I think it would be wise to throw in one word of caution
08:38 that you are really a product of your three closest friends.
08:43 That's true.
08:45 Now if you are really strong in the faith
08:48 and have really a good grasp on God,
08:51 there's going to be less danger in association with people
08:54 that are struggling.
08:57 But at the same note, and I think this is true,
08:59 if everyone but especially those that
09:02 maybe you're not quite at a super strong place
09:04 in your own walk,
09:05 you do need to be careful about too much closeness with people
09:11 on a continual basis
09:12 because what that does is
09:14 they will start to influence you
09:15 more than you are able to influence them
09:16 in many times.
09:18 That's true.
09:19 So just having that...
09:21 And only God can really show you
09:22 what you should do in on a case by case basis
09:26 but be aware of those principles
09:27 that you don't want to surrender your principles
09:31 in that.
09:32 Here's another question.
09:34 This is a female, age 23, from Tennessee.
09:38 "I have a cousin who was hurt by Christians
09:40 and he can't stand to even hear anyone say
09:42 anything about Christianity
09:43 to the point I had to block him on Facebook
09:45 for constantly attacking me for everything I said.
09:48 Is there any way I can still be a witness to him?"
09:52 Sometimes, you have to let the dust settle.
09:54 I mean, if there is not a spirit of sincere, open,
09:59 earnest, and congenial dialogue that's afforded,
10:02 it's not productive.
10:05 If things are just emotionally charged
10:06 and there's not civil discourse,
10:07 now is not the time,
10:09 and one of the best things you can do is
10:10 just pray earnestly for them at this stage
10:14 because if they don't want to talk
10:15 and they just want to criticize and attack,
10:17 it's because they're hurt.
10:19 And if you are not a person they feel safe in opening up to
10:23 or even friendly enough with to be congenial,
10:26 I would give it some time
10:28 while earnestly praying and looking for windows
10:31 when there's changes.
10:33 But still, I would give it some time.
10:34 Yeah, my question would be similar,
10:37 is this friendship strong enough
10:38 that there's really a friendship
10:40 outside of just Facebook and social media?
10:44 But if there is
10:45 and that friendship can go on in other ways,
10:50 then something that's happened to me
10:51 as I had this happen with someone that was close to me
10:54 and what the Lord really impressed me was,
10:56 "Michelle, you just need to love him,
10:59 you need to learn how to do that."
11:02 And so when we have our interactions,
11:04 it would just be on a friendly-basis.
11:06 It was just a building
11:08 that friendship, that relationship,
11:10 especially because this is a family member, you know?
11:14 And that is a huge thing
11:16 because, that love can, when it's time,
11:20 open up the door for dialogue,
11:21 but trying to push dialogue when a person is not ready,
11:25 usually just needs more resistance.
11:27 Now one other practical thing, this is a cousin.
11:29 So let's say you get to a family reunion,
11:33 what are you going to do?
11:35 Like you're saying,
11:36 do your utmost to just be kind, be...
11:39 If there's interactions,
11:41 be the best, most loving Christian
11:43 you can possibly be.
11:44 There's a biblical principle
11:46 that a kind word turns away wrath, right?
11:48 I doubt, in those moments,
11:51 that it's your responsibility
11:53 to respond to every objection they have.
11:55 Yeah. You know what I mean?
11:56 I don't think it's just going to be productive.
11:57 If they're looking for a fight, don't give them a fight.
12:00 Don't give them what they're looking for
12:01 in those moments.
12:03 Give them what they're least expecting,
12:04 love in spite of what they're doing to you.
12:06 And only God can give that to us.
12:08 We're not capable of loving people
12:10 in situations whenever we would choose not to love them.
12:13 But God can because God does love them
12:15 in spite of what they've done to His Son,
12:17 in spite of what they're doing to His pleads on a daily basis.
12:20 And we can receive Christ's love for them
12:23 in that moment,
12:24 to be that type of witness that would convict them
12:26 to realize that no matter how crusty I am with them,
12:29 they're not wanting to respond,
12:31 and they'll recognize that, I'm sure.
12:34 You know...
12:35 And I still want to downplay
12:36 the necessity of intercessory prayer
12:38 on this behalf,
12:39 like it's a big, big one
12:40 where God does this a supernatural spiritual work
12:43 of softening the soil
12:45 for that time when you can plant seeds
12:46 in the future endeavor.
12:48 You know, one thing that I do want to do really quick
12:51 is go back up to the first question,
12:53 we're talking about in the last minute or so
12:54 that we have.
12:56 You know, there's a lot of times
12:58 where we face questions of principle
13:01 that maybe we aren't sure about yet
13:03 that maybe the church has a position on.
13:07 I just want to give some advice that in those situations,
13:12 the best thing that you can do is go to the Word of God
13:14 and sincerely with...
13:16 Like this person says, with the spirit of a learner,
13:19 go to the Word of God
13:21 and seek answers for yourself on these.
13:24 You don't want to just
13:25 immediately kowtow to whatever it is
13:27 because that often ends up backfiring in the long run.
13:30 Instead, I would really urge you,
13:32 go back and study these things, ask God,
13:34 "Lord, what is it that You would have me to do,"
13:36 and really seek Him in that.
13:38 And when you do that, I think God will lead you for sure.
13:42 Any closing thoughts before we end up?
13:45 I think these all go together.
13:47 Seeking the Lord's will
13:48 is the best thing that we can do
13:49 and seeking it in God's Spirit.
13:51 Yeah. Amen.
13:52 So if you have any of your own questions,
13:55 any raw questions,
13:57 please submit them to us online, RQRA3ABN.
14:00 And, guys, I cannot overemphasize this enough.
14:05 Find your answers in the Word of God.
14:07 We're here to help facilitate that,
14:09 but you can do the same thing with this book
14:12 and an attitude of prayer.
14:13 God bless.