Money and Happiness, Trust of Pastors, and Profanity (01.28.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

Last week, one of the stories we discussed was a major news event. This week we have three stories that will be far less likely to be discussed on the network and cable news. But we have three interesting stories about money, pastors, and profanity.

STORY #1 – A New Study Says Making More Money Makes People Happier

“Money improves happiness because it gives people more choices – [Matthew Killingsworth from Penn’s Wharton School] finds one of the main links between money and increasing happiness is the flexibility a higher income gives people. ‘When you have more money, you have more choices about how to live your life. You can likely see this in the pandemic. People living paycheck to paycheck who lose their job might need to take the first available job to stay afloat, even if it’s one they dislike. People with a financial cushion can wait for one that’s a better fit. Across decisions big and small, having more money gives a person more choices and a greater sense of autonomy.’” (StudyFinds.org)

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STORY #2 – Americans’ Trust of Pastors Hovers Near All-Time Low

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are more likely to trust medical professionals, while few believe pastors are completely honest. […] Americans’ opinion of clergy’s honesty falls between judges and nursing home operators. Around 2 in 5 (39%) say pastors have at least high ethical standards, including 10% who say their honesty is very high. For 41% of the public, the honesty and ethical standards of clergy are average, while 11% rate it as low and 4% as very low. Another 4% say they have no opinion of pastors’ honesty, the highest of any profession. […] This marks the second time since Gallup began surveying Americans about their trust of various occupations that fewer than 2 in 5 gave clergy the highest ratings.” (Lifeway Research)

Related material:

STORY #3 – Profanity Is Performative

“In 1934, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd spent almost five months living entirely alone in a tiny shack buried under the ice of Antarctica’s interior. […] The longer Byrd spent in isolation, the more he noticed the trappings of his old life fall away. He grew his hair out. Dropped his table manners. And, interestingly, stopped swearing. “Although at first I was quick to open fire at everything that tried my patience,” he observed, “Now I seldom cuss.” Byrd realized that profanity is essentially performative — done for the sake of others. To shock. To evince toughness. To add emphasis. Even a swear uttered when alone is born of the societal habit — the hope of attracting attention, and, if the curse was evoked from pain or fear, eliciting help.” (Art of Manliness)

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How to Discuss Contentious Topics

Argument

Most have noticed that the world in which we live has become more divided and contentious in the past few years. Many topics that come up for discussion – both in person and especially online – can elicit strong emotional responses from individuals. Because of this, we may be tempted to avoid any type of discussion on potentially controversial issues, especially if we know (or are reasonably certain) there will be disagreement.

However, for many controversial topics, there are Biblical principles that apply to them. Therefore, discussions on these sorts of issues can provide a way to direct others – especially those who are not Christians – to what the Bible teaches. So we should not avoid discussing such things altogether, but we do need to understand the proper way to discuss contentious topics.Continue Reading

Holy and Reverend Is His Name (Sermon #33)

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Holy and Reverend Is His Name (Sermon #33)

We’re in between season 11 and season 12. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on June 10, 2018 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

If you found this episode to be useful, please share it with others. Also, if you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a rating on iTunes or Stitcher. This also helps others hear about the podcast. Thanks.

By What Are We Justified?

Man at sunset

The concept of justification is of major importance in the gospel. But what does it mean to be justified? Thayer defines the word as declaring or pronouncing one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.

In the New Testament, justification is about God recognizing us as being righteous or right before Him. This divine recognition is key. We are not righteous simply by declaring ourselves to be righteous. We may claim it, but that does not make it so. How then can we be justified? The New Testament mentions several things by which we are justified. We will notice them in this article.
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Cursing Kings in Your Bedroom (Sermon #6)

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Cursing Kings in Your Bedroom (Sermon #6)

We’re in between season 4 and season 5 which will start on January 24th. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on October 9, 2016 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

If you found this episode to be useful, please share it with others. Also, if you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a rating on iTunes or Stitcher. This also helps others hear about the podcast. Thanks.

What Hasn’t Changed Since the Election

Sunrise

The United States has just gone through an unpredictable and divisive Presidential campaign season. Our society has changed a lot over the last few decades and more changes are surely coming – whatever those changes might be. Yet there are certain things that have not changed since the election and will not change. In this article, we are going to consider six things that this election has not changed.

Note: This article was written before the election. This was done deliberately. I wanted to be sure to focus on what is true regardless of what the results might be and not react to whatever might have happened in the election. With that being said, let us consider six things that have not changed.
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How Can People Know We Are Christians?

Cross Tattoo

I recently read an article that talked about a group using tattoos as a fundraiser for a church project. Those who were participating were getting tattoos that were meant to convey the message that they were Christians. On one hand, it is tempting to see this as commendable. With tattoos being (relatively) permanent, one could argue that they can be a good expression of our commitment to following Jesus.

However, the Bible never says that Christians are to indicate their identity as disciples of Jesus by some markings on their skin. In fact, the concept is just like the practice of the Pharisees who would “broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments” (Matthew 23:5). The Pharisees wanted people to see, based upon the accessories that they wore, that they were zealously religious. Those who get tattoos (or wear certain jewelry or clothing) that are designed to convey a religious message and identify them as Christians are doing the same thing.

Jesus said there is another way that people should recognize us as being His followers – it is by the fruit that is produced in our lives.
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