There are in fact twelve days of Christmas. In the Western Church calendar, the twelve days of Christmas start on Dec. 25th and end on January 5th. A break down of the days are as follows:
Dec. 25 - Christmas
Dec. 26 - The Feast of Stephen
Dec. 27 - John the Baptist’s martyrdom
Dec. 28 - Feast of the Holy Innocents
Jan. 1 - Feast of the Name and Circumcision of Jesus
Jan. 5 - Day of the Magi
This means that the famous song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is connected to the Church calendar, and some people have certainly made some deeper connections to the meaning of the gifts from the "True Love" of the song by finding Biblical parallels. Was this song intentionally written as code to teach the Christian faith? And even if it wasn't, can these Biblical connections add a new sense of wonder to the song and help remind us that we have way more to celebrate and remember in the Church calendar for the Christmas Season? I think so. Listen and find out more!
12 Days of Christmas Show Notes
The Force Awakens this Friday, December 18th. Star Wars will likely dominate many families' Christmas gatherings. With this in mind, Andy sought advice from Pastor Rob Mrosko, who has been a fan of Star Wars since seeing Episode 4 in 1977 when he was six years old.
Pastor Rob shares why he thinks the Star Wars franchise has been so popular before sharing ways that the series connects with Biblical themes that Christians can use in conversations to share the Gospel.
Pastor Rob also addresses two approaches Christians often times take when approaching secular films like Star Wars: approaching it just as entertainment with no discernment or avoiding it all together due to certain elements that oppose Scriptural truths.
Andy also asks if the Star Wars series has a Christ-like figure and who the hero actually is since it appears that the Dark Side has a popularity in toy and clothing marketing and products.
Finally, Pastor Rob gives some pastoral advice for Christians to consider when entering into this new trilogy.
George and Andy apply the Reconnect theme of sharing and defending the Gospel and apply it to the Christmas season.
Together they answer the following three questions:
1. Do you have any ideas for sharing the Gospel during the Christmas season?
2. Any particular Christmas movies that you think do a good job of sharing the Gospel message?
3. What's your response to this year's Starbucks red cup and the "movement" that was attempted by Joshua Feuerstein?
Linus Explains the Meaning of Christmas
Bad Religion's Christmas Songs
Merry Christmas Starbucks in the News
Andy, Wes, and Jesse take an online quiz to find out what Christian denomination they should be. This is all the more fun because Jesse doesn't have a denomination!
Take the quiz for yourself here: http://www.selectsmart.com/FREE/select.php?client=christiandenom
For this episode of Reconnect, Andy is sharing an episode of Cross Defense, in which he joined host Rev. Rod Zwonitzer as they discuss the different opinions people have of Jesus… A Myth? A Liar? A Lunatic? A Pantheist? From The Future? A Prophet, but Not God? A Demon? or the Messiah?
For more Cross Defense episodes, click here.
Andy and Wes take a quiz to find out what Christian denomination they should join, but Andy mistakenly had a quiz that asked "What Kind of Christian are You?" instead, so they don't hear what denomination they should be, but they hope you still get some good doctrinal insights from this episode. Sticking with the Reconnect theme of sharing and defending the Gospel, they share how they think different answers could affect what the Gospel message really is. Enjoy.
Take the quiz if you dare:
What Kind of Christian Are You?
George interviews Andy about his MA research project, THE USE OF CHINESE LITERATURE AS A CULTURAL STARTING POINT TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
Common methods of Christian evangelism present a list of facts about man’s depravity and God’s act of salvation for mankind. These methods are problematic in today’s mostly postmodern world that does not accept absolute truths. These methods also use terminology and concepts unknown outside of the Christian faith, furthering the difficulty of communicating the Gospel. This research project then seeks to find a well-known piece of Chinese literature that Christians can use as a cultural starting point when presenting the Gospel in China, eliminating the problems of a facts-based presentation of the Gospel.
Key List of Words
Chinese folktales, Chinese literature, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, monomyth, and storytelling evangelism.
Many religions teach that the soul is eternal and that it passes on from one life to the next, being incarnate in a new body each time. This teaching is called reincarnation. It contradicts the teaching of resurrection that says this life is the only life humans have before a bodily resurrection of all the dead at the final judgment of the Lord.
Mike Shreve of Shreve Ministries shares why he used to believe in reincarnation, how he used to teach others about reincarnation, how the Lord saved him and brought him to embrace the resurrection of Christ and the future bodily resurrection of all the dead, and how he explains that reincarnation isn't logically consistent.
Free Download of Mike's Testimony: Encountering God
Website for Mike's Book, In Search of the True Light: The True Light
A 2005 Gallup poll revealed that 37% of Americans believe houses can be haunted and 21% believe they can personally communicate with the dead.
In a 2009 Pew Research Center survey, it was discovered that 29% of the American population believes they have been in touch with the dead. Among those who identify as Christians, the percentage was the exact same! 18% of Americans claim to have had a ghostly experience (17% among Christians).
In light of such results, is the Church ready to respond to an increasing population that embraces a paranormal worldview? This is a drastic shift from countering the typical Atheistic naturalism. There is a cultural shift occurring in which the non-religious are open to a reality that exists beyond our natural world. However, are Christians prepared to address the many facets of this growing belief system and fascination with the spirit world?
In the first Reconnect Halloween Special, Andy interviews Daniel Jenkins, a Christian paranormal investigator. Daniel has been on 1000s of “ghost-hunts” as a member of a Christian paranormal investigation team. As a Christian team interacting with non-Christian investigators and scared home-owners who thought their homes were haunted, Daniel and his team were able to share the hope of the Gospel, give explanations to what was being experienced, and personally pray for those who were scared and in need of God’s love and truth.
How did Daniel get involved in the paranormal world?
What makes a Christian paranormal team different from any other team?
What does the typical investigation consists of?
Is there usually a natural explanation found through the investigations?
What has Daniel experienced that couldn’t be explained naturally?
What does the Bible say concerning ghosts? Are they just demons, or could they be the spirits of the dead?
How has Daniel been able to share the Gospel through his involvement in paranormal investigations?
How has Daniel’s paranormal involvement been received by other Christians and his pastors?
Jake Wells is a Flesh Pilot. He's a tattoo artist and a DIY RC POV Helocopter enthusiast.
Tattoos are taboo in most Christian circles. Jake is covered in them and he covers others with them too.
Remote controlled helicopters are a booming hobby, though a controversial one due to the fact that most people call them drones and some pilots fly them in illegal spaces or over private property while filming from them!
Despite the controversy, Jake uses his job as a tattoo artist to share the Gospel and he has been dubbed the "world's first RC (Remote Control) Christian Minister".
Andy interviews Jake to find out more about how he became a Christian and how he shares Christ through his work and hobbies in the hope that Jake's boldness to share the Gospel through his every day endeavors will excite others to do the same in their jobs and recreational pursuits.
Jake's Ministry Site - Flesh Pilot
We can approach a church service as our opportunity to serve the Lord through what we are doing during our gathering, or we can go to a church service with the expectation that we are going to be served by the Lord. We usually hold one approach as our predominant understanding of what is occurring when we gather. There is a church service order called the Divine Service. This is an order of service typically used within Lutheran traditions. Its name was mentioned in Episode 28, but not much was shared about what actually transpires in a Divine Service. So for this episode, Andy interviews Pastor Jaime Nava of Good Shepherd Lutheran in Yucaipa, CA, to learn more about what the Divine Service is and why Jaime thinks it is the best approach to sharing the Gospel during our church services.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - Yucaipa
Andy and Ben take a look at a video God or Absurdity posted that demonstrates what they call" an excellent summary of presuppositional apologetics".
The video is a splice of two episodes of "On the Box" featuring Mark Spence answering the question: "What is presuppositional apologetics and how is it used?" In the process of answering this question, Mark discredits the use of evidential apologetics. He does this because he says the nonbeliever will discredit all evidence that is presented for the existence of God.
Andy and Ben disagree with Mark Spence on some of his points about evidential apologetics and they agree with him on some of his points about presuppositional apologetics. Together, they make a case for using both presuppositional and evidential apologetics when sharing and defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
George and Andy take a quiz from ChurchPop that makes them decipher if a selection of lyrics are from a secular love song or a contemporary worship song.
This quiz leads them to ask if it’s a problem if the lyrics to a song intended to be sung to Jesus could just as easily be sung to your girlfriend.
Other questions are also addressed:
Why is there music and singing in worship services? Is there a Scriptural reason to support singing when Christians gather for worship?
What should we expect to see in the lyrical content of songs intended for worship?
Should worship be viewed as a time that God comes and serves us, or a time that we come together to worship and praise God?
Should there be a different standard of lyrical content when singing to God corporately or by one’s self?
Andy has noticed what appears to be a thrust to have the songs and bands in services be something non-Christians or non-Church-goers wouldn't mind hearing. This means the band in a way has become an outreach component. Is this a good approach to sharing the Gospel? And if this is the intent of some services, are the “Jesus is my Girlfriend” songs missing the mark of their intent for evangelism?
George and Andy both pick a song they have heard recently in a worship setting that has rubbed them the wrong way lyrically and they explain why. Their intent with this podcast is to promote Christians to evaluate what the purpose is of singing as a body of believers and to lead them to think about what they are singing when they gather in their local church bodies.
Visit AndyWrasman.com and check out the post for Reconnect Episode 28 to access show links to the quiz they took and the songs they discuss.
Andy and Wes discuss Law and Gospel.
0:30 – Law and Gospel Intro
2:35 – What is God’s Law?
5:20 – What is the Gospel?
6:40 – When does a person need to hear Law? When does a person need to hear the Gospel?
10:00 – Public preaching of God’s Word needs both Law and Gospel.
14:20 – Don’t weaken the Law of God.
18:30 – The Law found in the Sermon on the Mount
20:55 – Can we meet God’s standard in this life?
25:00 – God’s Law is written on all men’s hearts.
27:00 – Knowing that God’s Law is written on the hearts of men, most adherents of other religions are likely already in terror of God’s Law and need to hear the Gospel, not more Law.
31:20 – Christianity has both Law and Gospel. Other religions just have the Law.
35:00 – What is the Hermeneutical principle of distinguishing Law and Gospel in a Scriptural text?
52:00 – Closing words
Psalms 32:6-7, 89-8-11, and 74:12-17 are some examples of raging sea images within Scripture. The raging sea is depicted as being chaotic becuase of a great sea monster!
Andy connects this imagery and understanding of the sea with the Gospel of Mark's repeated references to the sea that contains multiple sea crossings that were marked with chaotic storms that were stilled by Christ. What occurred before and after these crossings is also significant. This episode's sermon is meant to encourage you as we are called to be fishers of men, entering into the chaotic sea of this world knowing that the sea will one day be turned to glass before the throne of God. The place where men from every nation, tribe, and language shall praise the Lord.
Andy interviews Mary Eady, author of Letter to a Friend: Yoga, and staff member of TruthXchange.
Mary takes a strong stance that Christians should not partake in Yoga. Listen to find out why! Will you be persuaded?
Andy is in the process of turning his book, Contradict - They Can't All Be True, into an audio version. Here's a sampling of the work in progress as he reads the first chapter. The influence of Hinduism in the West with its connections to religious pluralism is addressed, which leads perfectly into next week's episode asking the question, "Is it OK for Christians to do yoga?"
I (Andy) have recently noticed, on the Contradict Facebook page I administer and on other pages, that most posts on homosexuality speak just the Law of God ( i.e. his standards, commands, and expectations). The Gospel is typically missing.
I took a photo of a gay wedding cake and then added the text, "Jesus died for this sin too!" off to the side of the image. With this single statement the Gospel is proclaimed, and at the same time homosexuality is still shown to be sinful.
Jesus is the Savior of all adulterers. I am one of them. To clarify, in Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount", he defines adultery as any lust. He defines murder as hating anyone. Jesus essentially shows us that we all have broken God's Law, that we are all sinners in need of divine redemption. He provided that redemption through the shedding of his blood for our sins, through his life, death, burial, and resurrection.
"To share or not to share?" That is the question. In this episode George shares why he chooses to abstain from sharing religious posts on social media sites, while I share why I am in full support of such posts. To close George shares four Facebook posts pertaning with homosexualty and wants to know if I'd share them or not. Putting the Law and Gospel principle into action, I decide to share or not to share.
To learn more about Law and Gospel watch the videos with Law and Gospel in their titles in the following playlist I created on Youtube:
Christian apologists typically favor a specific approach to defending the Christian faith. These approaches, or methods, are numerous and each school of apologetics touts its top apologists as the best models to follow when training in apologetics. It’s not uncommon to see advocates for certain schools of apologetics debate why their chosen method is superior. J. Warner Wallace however argues that we don’t need to argue over which method is the best, but instead says we need to embrace and train in all of these various schools of apologetics. He calls this training in Mixed Martial Apologetics!
Andy asks Wallace to name and explain some of the branches of Christian apologetics and when he thinks they are best utilized. Andy closes by sharing arguments he has heard against such a mix-bag approach to apologetics, asking Wallace to make a case for Mixed Martial Apologetics.
J. Warner Wallace is the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene. Wallace’s many resources for training in Mixed Martial Apologetics are available at his site, coldcasechristianity.com.
George shares his paper, "Qoheleth: The Search for Meaning in Life", with Andy.
Solomon's method for searching for meaning in life is one to consider. His conclusion is one we should all the more consider. With such an endearing topic, Solomon truly is a preacher for our day. George and Andy make some connections to how we can take Solomon's search for the meaning in life and use it as a tool to share the Gospel with those who are searching.
Read George's paper at www.andywrasman.com in the show notes for this episode.
Andy brings Reconnect listener and Contradict Movement members’ questions to the show to answer them with George and Wes.
1:53 – Responding to the claim that the Gospel of Barnabus is the true Bible that prophesies that Muhammad will be the Messiah.
16:47 – Does Contradict Movement espouse the doctrines of “Lordship Salvation”?
24:07 – Responding to a post made by Mena Lee Grebin of Faithful Walk Healing Ministry. She advocates that we must work to maintain our relationship with Jesus. A Contradict follower, Nick, thinks Mena’s post is inserting our works into our salvation by her post. In particular Nick wants to know the meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins which Mena uses in her post, which we read in full and respond to in its entirety.
46:25 – If we are following Christ, why are we still cursed?
49:50 – Does God’s standards apply to our everyday life or just spiritual life?
51:25 – Feedback from Kurt Calloway on Reconnect Episode 15!
Who is a Christian? How do you become a Christian? And how do you know for sure that you are a Christian?
If one is really a Christian, that person is really saved!
But how would you know for sure that you really are a Christian and that you really are saved?
In other words, where do you look for assurance that you are a Christian, that you are saved from eternal death?
Kevin DeYoung wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition entitled, "How Do I Know That I'm A Christian?" He gave three signs that a person can use to have confidence that he or she is saved:
1. The first sign is theological. You should have confidence if you believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God.
2. The second sign is moral. You should have confidence if you live a righteous life.
3. The third sign is social. You should have confidence if you love other Christians.
Andy, George, and Wes discuss these three signs that DeYoung offers using verses from 1 John that should serve to give us confidence and not condemnation.
All three of us disagree with DeYoung on the moral and social sign. We say that using such signs will only lead us to despair and utter lack of assurance of salvation. Turning inwards to our own morality and not outwards to the work of Christ for assurance of salvation can dangerously strip Christians of cetainty that they are saved, lead to a distortion of the Gospel, and lead many into Christian legalism. This is a dangerous road and we do our best to explain why we should not use these as signs that we are saved by looking at the Scripture verses DeYoung cites in his article.
Few places have a local Christian newspaper. Starting a Christian newspaper can be a very challenging yet rewarding ministry and hobby that can bring glory to the Lord in your local area. Chris Thompson started Life in His Hands Christian Newspaper from scratch. He shares why he did it and how he did it. He shares two things he recommends everyone to do if starting a paper and two things not to do. He shares the price of printing his paper, distribution tips, and so much more. Potentially, you could even use Chris' layout for his paper and just update a few sections with local ads and replace a few of the local articles each week. Maybe you are a writer, maybe you are a communications and media expert, maybe you are a graphic artist, maybe you are good at advertising and producing and sharing a product. Maybe this episode is intended for you.
We should be evangelists first and apologists second. When defending the Christian faith, we should always strive to incorporate the Gospel into our defense. Why should we do this? How can we do this? Andy gives a brief explanation at the start of this episode, before reading an excerpt from his book Contradict - They Can't All be True to answer these questions, before running these concepts through in practice on Cross Defense, a radio show hosted by Rod Zwonitzer on KFUO out of St. Louis, Missouri! Enjoy.
Andy interviews Ken Chitwood about his article, "Building Bridges: Toward Constructing a Christian Foundation for Inter-Religious Relationships in the Shift from Religious Privilege to Spiritual Plurality" The key points for inter-religious dialog that Ken suggests are: pay attention, find, and form, friendships, listen and learn, dine, dialog, and do together, discern, and witness to the worldview. The article can be found linked within this episode's page at andywrasman.com.