All posts by Stephen Moon

You Asked: Does God Harden a Believer’s Heart?

You Asked: Does God Harden a Believer’s Heart?

An anonymous commenter asked:

What does it mean that God hardens human hearts? And will he do that to a believer?

We posed the question to Tony Reinke, content strategist for in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


hard-heartThis is a serious and important two-part question, but it is really six questions in disguise. Though human speculation could not touch it with a javelin pole, God’s revelation helps to unfold the answer. None of us is made modest by tiptoeing past this question if the Bible offers us answers.

I’ll try to unfold the six questions and answer them briefly in this (woefully short) article.

1. What is a hard heart?

A hard heart is an obstinate and calloused heart that fails to respond to God or obey him. A hard heart is blind to the precious value of the gospel and refuses to embrace Christ (Rom. 11:8). Most precariously, a hard heart is synonymous with spiritual ignorance and alienation from God (Eph. 4:18).

2. But does God actively harden the hearts of sinners? And if so, why?

Without question, the answer is yes, he does. The Bible speaks of God’s active agency in hardening hearts with unmistakable bluntness.

Maybe the clearest example is Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. God hardened his heart in obstinacy on purpose. “Not once in Exodus 4-14 is the assertion of God’s hardening of Pharaoh grounded in any attitude or act of Pharaoh. Instead, again and again the reason given for the hardening is God’s purpose to demonstrate his power and magnify his name,” as Paul explains in Romans 9:17 (John Piper, The Justification of God, 174).

We find another example in John 12:36-43, showing Jesus unmistakably connecting unbelief in his day with the hardening of God. But before we go much further it’s vital to hear four key qualifications from D. A. Carson on this text:

If a superficial reading finds this harsh, manipulative, even robotic, four things must constantly be borne in mind:

(1) God’s sovereignty in these matters is never pitted against human responsibility;

(2) God’s judicial hardening is not presented as the capricious manipulation of an arbitrary potentate cursing morally neutral or even morally pure beings, but as a holy condemnation of a guilty people who are condemned to do and be what they themselves have chosen;

(3) God’s sovereignty in these matters can also be a cause for hope, for if he is not sovereign in these areas there is little point in petitioning him for help, while if he is sovereign the anguished pleas of the prophet (Is. 63:15-19)—and of believers throughout the history of the church—make sense;

(4) God’s sovereign hardening of the people in Isaiah’s day, his commissioning of Isaiah to apparently fruitless ministry, is a stage in God’s “strange work” (Is. 28:21-22) that brings God’s ultimate redemptive purposes to pass. [Carson, John, 448-9]

God has his ways and his prerogatives in divine hardening, and those prerogatives are just and right (Rom. 9:14-24).

At the same time, a hardened heart always reflects the willful, self-hardening, and rejection of God by the sinner (Rom. 1:26-28). Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15). God also hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 7:3) for God to display his wrath and power.

But this answer raises another question: is the hardening work of God now passed? Was it only a stage in redemptive history to bring out the cross and the ingathering of Gentiles? Or, to ask the question another way:

3. Does God harden Gentile hearts, and does he still harden hearts today?

Further evidence in the epistles leads me to answer yes and yes. We know God’s hardening will one day manifest in the Gentile world on earth at a future point leading up to the return of Christ (2 Thess. 2:1-12).

But even more tangibly, the hardening of God is made manifest in two ways: in the continued rejection of the Messiah by ethnic Israel (Rom. 9-11), and in the celebration of homosexual sin by Gentiles (Rom. 1:26-28). In both cases, broadly speaking, God’s hardening is made visible to modern eyes.

4. So whose hearts are hardened?

As the New Testament makes clear, the whole world is ultimately divided into two groups, the gospel-embracers and the gospel-rejecters, or more specifically, the elect and the non-elect. In the end, these categories divide the entire population. There are vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath (Rom. 2:5). There are “elect” and there are “the rest” (Rom. 11:7). God “has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills,” and those two categories cover all human beings. The hardened in this passage include a Gentile Pharaoh (Rom. 9:17-18).

Taking this point even further, based on the contrast in Romans 11:7, I believe we can say every one of the non-elect will experience God’s active hardening at some point, to be shut up in a condition that excludes one from salvation. God’s hardening is a feature of his activity with the “vessels of wrath.”

5. So does God harden the heart of a believer?

Now we get to the main question, one where even Reformed theologians seem to disagree. Some say yes, God could harden the heart of the pre-converted elect in their sin but then reverse that hardening later in regeneration. The case of David is cited as an episode where a child of God may have experienced a circumstantial divine hardening (2 Sam. 24:1).

And this possibility raises questions about what ultimately happened to Pharaoh. Did he convert after the Exodus? Possibly, but this would seem to contradict Paul’s use of Pharaoh as an example in his discussion of election in Romans 9-11. It seems more likely that Paul uses Pharaoh as an example of a “vessel of wrath” who was never converted.

But I think the best answer to this question is no, because in the argument of Romans, God’s act of hardening is permanent. As one commentator puts it:

It is unlikely that the hardening to which Paul refers is reversible (Rom. 9:1821-2311:1-10). One is the object either of God’s mercy or of his hardening (9:18), and there is not the slightest hint in 9:21-23 that the vessels of wrath may become vessels of mercy. Instead, Paul argues that the vessels of mercy will appreciate God’s mercy when they see his just anger inflicted upon the vessels of wrath. (Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, 618)

Based on Romans, it seems best to say God hardens only the vessels of wrath (non-elect), never the hearts of the vessels of mercy (elect), either before, or after, conversion. God’s hardening of a heart is a judicial act that is never overturned. Therefore I think it’s best to say, no, the true believer is never the object of God’s hardening.

6. But has my heart been hardened?

Often this question comes from Christians suffering spiritual numbness in their heart. They don’t feel joy in God like they want, or like they did before. Their Bible reading plan is less fruitful on a daily basis than they desire. But all believers feel and lament this sort of coldness in their hearts. All believers struggle with occasional callousness in their affections—but this feeling is not the same thing as a hard heart. A truly hard heart cannot feel or lament its own hardness, and there’s the key difference.

Hardness of heart leads the non-elect to feel increasing confident in their sin; hardness of heart in the redeemed makes us feel weak and needy.

So how do you know if God has hardened your heart? Well, have you hardened your heart to God (Heb. 3:7-19)? The beauty of God’s divine drama is that we don’t immediately know who is a vessel of mercy and who is a God-hardened vessel of wrath. The Jewish man who currently rejects Christ may eventually come to faith in Christ by an act of God’s sovereign grace overriding his self-hardened heart. And the practicing homosexual sinner may turn from her sins and live by an act of God’s sovereign grace overriding her self-hardened heart.

This is why gospel preaching is so amazing. We offer the gospel to all. We let the gospel-lion out of its cage to do its work in separating sheep from goats, vessels of mercy from vessels of wrath. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing (non-elect), but to us who are being saved (elect) it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

In the end, each of us must answer one question above all regarding the condition of our heart: Do I embrace Jesus Christ as the greatest treasure in the universe?

Tony Reinke is a content strategist for Desiring God in Minneapolis. He is the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Crossway, 2011). He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three children.



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Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less

Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less

The easiest way to build a platform in today’s world is to start a blog. While you can do this with free hosted options like,, and, you will get the most control by using self-hosted WordPress. This is what most serious bloggers use. It is what I use here at

The YouTube ID of 681aXQEC3ZQ#t=340 is invalid.

However, this is where many people get stuck. They assume that the process of setting up a hosting service and installing WordPress is complicated and time-consuming. It’s not.(By the way, if you are not sure about the difference between hosted and self-hosted WordPress, check out this helpful infographic.)

In the video above, I show you how to setup your blog in twenty minutes or less. As a bonus, I explain to you how to write and publish your first blog post. If you don’t need this information yourself, perhaps you know someone who does. Please feel free to pass along the link to this post.

The good news is that you won’t need any technical expertise to setup your blog. This tutorial is simple. I walk you through the process, one click at a time.



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How the Church Began–and Why That Matters Today

How the Church Began–and Why That Matters Today

Lindy Lowry —  March 19, 2014

rethinking evangelism repent new lifeby John Teter

When God’s Spirit moved at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire. That is truly astonishing. The Apostle Peter’s sermon brought conviction and commitment to more than 3,000 people. But might I be so bold as to argue that these spiritual encounters do not include the most miraculous development of all?

The 3,000 people who experienced God and responded to the gospel did not return home. Instead, they encouraged their loved ones to come and be a part of God’s great outpouring. The church began with pilgrims who stayed in Jerusalem. What could have possibly caused them to make such a dramatic life change?

I believe the answer is that we all do amazing things when we fall in love. The first converts fell in love with God and with each other. They found what they had been searching for all their lives. The new life of Jesus always demands a new lifestyle. And this new lifestyle centered on five areas of life the church repented into. [Below, Teter focuses on three of the five. Download the full eBook What We Repent Into to read all five].

1. The Apostles’ Teaching

The new life brings about a hunger for God’s Word. New disciples must be taught how to listen to, study and live out Scripture. When the new converts entered into the daily life of the Jerusalem church, they knew very little Scripture. Can you imagine how the hearts of those in the early church burned within when they went to their regular teaching times and Peter began speaking?

Like the first converts at Pentecost, our new Christians must be taught God’s Word. And they must not only learn, but also apply and practically live out God’s Word—tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, so that their faith will be strong and their lives will bear fruit.

The church began with devotion to God’s Word.

2. Fellowship

The church was devoted to fellowship. Some 3,000 new brothers and sisters in Christ began to get to know one another. The church began with a group of people who truly enjoyed being together. They learned each other’s cultures and asked each other, “Why do you do things that way?” They made time for relationships and prioritized their new life together.

What does this look like in the life of the church today? We must invite people into these life-giving relationships and welcome them. I remember the first year of planting Fountain of Life. My wife and I hosted a weekly Life Group Bible study. We would begin with dinner at 6:30 p.m. followed by Bible study at 7:30. Our group of 20 people bonded deeply. After study, we spent time getting to know each other. We talked, joked and watched funny YouTube videos. Time flew by. A few of us still recall laughing in my driveway, when the Los Angeles Times driver delivered the paper early in the morning. People do amazing things when they fall in love with God and each other.

The church began by repenting into meaningful and life-giving relationships.

3. Breaking of Bread

Luke shares that in the early church there was much joy in the sharing of meals.

There is another component, however, to Luke’s description of life at the table. With glad and generous hearts, they ate The Meal together. They shared the Lord’s Table meal living in the great reality that Christ could return at any moment.

The Lord’s Table has an especially powerful place in the hearts and mind of Fountain of Life Covenant Church. In the first year of our plant, we suffered a horrendous loss. Dear friends of mine from college—the fourth family to commit to the church plant—were driving home from a New Year’s Day family party when a drunk driver barreled through an intersection and struck their van. Midi, age 35, wife of Mark and mother to twin boys, died instantly. One of the twins, Nathan, survived through the night on a breathing machine, only to die in the early morning hours.

For that first year after the accident, the Lord ministered to all of us through communion. Every time we served communion, we employed the “missing man formation,” placing two empty chairs at the table. It was a visual reminder of our sorrow and loss, but it directed us upwards, rejoicing that they were in the presence of the King.

God met us every time we approached the table and allowed us to be broken as He fed us the bread. He allowed us to be weak as we drank His wine. And He gave us hope that we would see our friends again who used to sit in those chairs. That was His promise. One day, on that amazing day, He will make all things new.

The church began by repenting into sharing The Table together.

Being the Church

The church began when 3,000 people repented away from the world and what they knew to be true. The church grew when 3,000 people repented into being the church.

Repenting out of the world is never enough. We must repent into that which gives life.

This article is excerpted and adapted from the Exponential FREE eBook What We Repent Into: 5 Things Every New Believer Must Do by John Teter. 


About the Author

John TeterJohn Teter was born in Los Angeles, the son of Korean and Dutch parents. He was raised in a non-religious home. But while at UCLA, Jesus captured John’s heart and life through an evangelistic Bible study. He went on to serve with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 12 years at USC, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Compton College. In 2007, John and his family planted Fountain of Life Covenant Church, a multiethnic, inner-city congregation of Long Beach to incarnate God’s love and make disciples. John serves the church today as senior pastor. He also serves as the church planting team leader for The Evangelical Covenant Church. He is passionate about calling, training, and sending the next generation of apostles to plant churches that are strong in faith and add to their numbers daily. John has written two books, Get the Word Out and Jesus & the Hip Hop Prophets, co-authored with Alex Gee. He and his wife, Becky, have been blessed with three wonderful children. In his spare time, John enjoys good film and television, fantasy football, and being a part of the Los Angeles Lakers Band. John will be speaking on the live Exponential East 2014 live webcast. Register for the webcast here.

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3 Levels of Social Media for Ministry

3 Levels of Social Media for Ministry | Extending your Reach with Social Media by Sean Cannell

Get More Content and Free Videos Here:

Connect with Sean Here:

Recorded at The Church at South Las Vegas during The Church Conference:

Sean Cannell is the Director of Communications at The Church at South Las Vegas & Co-Founder of THiNK International.

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Social Media Veterans Invited to High-Level Group

Social Media Veterans Invited to High-Level Group


Many churches, well experienced in the social media space, are looking to improve their model and better leverage their impact. Tim Nations speaks to veteran social media users, inviting them to the upcoming Social Media and Communication Innovation Lab. This Leadership Network peer group is designed for larger church leaders to take their digital models, strategies and techniques to new levels.  In this 5-minute interview, Warren Bird talks with Tim Nations about this new group series starting May 2014.

Social Media and Communications  InnovationLab | Launching May 1-2, 2014

Warren BirdBy Warren Bird on March 12th, 2014
Warren Bird, Ph.D., research director at Leadership Network, with background as a pastor and seminary professor, is author or co-author of 26 books for ministry leaders including Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin. His most recent titles are  Next: Pastoral Succession that Works and Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller.  Some of Warren’s recent online reports include “Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard“, “The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches,” and “Pastors Who Are Shaping the Future.” Follow him on Twitter at @warrenbird.
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Resurgence »    Dead Guys     Church History     Culture

Nothing to do with beer.

  1. He was one of the greatest missionaries who ever lived.
  2. He considered himself “a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to many.”
  3. He was actually more of a blue man (not sad, but the color), than a green one.
  4. As a teenager, he was stolen from his home and sold into slavery for six years in Ireland. He would later return to preach the gospel there.
  5. Satan attacked him violently in his sleep to the point where he couldn’t move.
  6. Legend has it that he contextualized and used shamrocks (an already-sacred symbol in Ireland) to teach people about the Trinity.
  7. He begged God to grant him to die a martyr’s death, even if it meant being torn limb from limb by dogs or pecked to death by birds. (Maybe St. Patrick inspired Alfred Hitchcock?)

The Confession of St. Patrick, by St. Patrick

St. Patrick: One of the Greatest Missionaries Who Ever Lived,” by Mark Driscoll

Get to Know St. Patrick,” by Mark Driscoll

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,” by Amy Hall

What Evangelicals Can Learn from St. Patrick,” by Russell Moore



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Two Truths for Coping with Suffering

Two Truths for Coping with Suffering

by Charles R. Swindoll

Job 2:3–62 Corinthians 1:3–7

I have found great help from two truths God gave me at a time in my life when I was bombarded with a series of unexpected and unfair blows (from my perspective). In my darkest hours, these principles become my anchor of stability, my only means of survival. Afflicted, confused, persecuted, and rejected in that situation, I claimed these two truths and held on to them like wild waves, strong winds, and pounding rain grabbing hold of the mast of a ship at sea. God took me through the consequences and kept me from becoming a bitter man.

Because they worked for me, I pass them on to you. At the risk of sounding simplistic, I would suggest that you not only write them down where you can read them often, but also that you might commit them to memory. The day will come when you will be thankful you did, I assure you. They have scriptural support, but I’ll only list a couple of verses for the sake of brevity and clarity.

Here is the first truth to claim when enduring the consequences of suffering: nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father. Nothing. Whatever occurs, God has sovereignly surveyed and approved (Job 2:3–6). We may not know why (we may never know why), but we do know our pain is no accident to Him who guides our lives. He is, in no way, surprised by it all. Before it ever touches us, it passes through Him.

The second truth to claim is this: everything I endure is designed to prepare me for serving others more effectively. Everything. Because my heavenly Father is committed to shaping me into the image of His Son, He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience (2 Corinthians 1:3–7). It is a necessary part of the preparation process. It is being used to empty our hands of our own resources, our own sufficiency, and turn us back to Him—the faithful Provider.

And God knows what will get through to us.

“Nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father. Nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father.”  — Chuck Swindoll

Adapted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.



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5 Requirements for Being Used by God

5 Requirements for Being Used by God


Clay Pots

If you’re a Pastor or church leader of any kind, you most likely found yourself in that place because you want God to use you. And chances are, you want God’s help releasing and freeing other people to be used by God as well for both ministry and mission.

The question is, what kind of person must I be to be used greatly by God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 says,“The eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them.”
If you want God to use you greatly, here are five things you need to do to make yourself usable by Him.

1. Keep your life clean.

The first step to being used by God is always personal cleansing. Without exception, when you find someone whom God is using in a great way, they’ve dealt with the personal sin in their lives before God.

It’s not about your past or your status in the world your your talent. God uses small vessels, plain vessels, and even broken vessels. But He will not use a dirty vessel. 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you’ll be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (NLT)

2. Keep your eyes open.

One of the most misunderstood words in leadership circles is the word vision. We think of vision as prediction, but none of us can know the future the way God does. Vision is seeing God at work in your present situation and moving with Him. It’s about getting in on what God is doing in the world and being a part of it where He has placed you.

If you make up your own vision, you’re already off course. The psalmist said, “Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.” (Psalm 105:4 MSG)

3. Keep your heart grateful.

God uses grateful people. Further, gratefulness is one of the keys to longevity in ministry. Doctors refer to gratitude as the healthiest of all emotions because of its physical benefits. If you don’t stay grateful, you’ll become cynical.

Paul said, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV) We need to constantly remind ourselves what a privilege it is to serve Jesus. Never get over the things that God does in, through, and around us entirely because of His grace.

4. Keep your purpose firm.

Remember the basics. You were planned for God’s pleasure, formed for God’s family, created to become like Christ, shaped for service, and made for a mission! These aren’t just good points for teaching others or for leading a church. These are the purposes for which God made you!

One of the verses that has kept me going through all the years of my ministry is Acts 13:36, “David served God’s purpose in his own generation.” That’s my desire! And that’s my desire for you.

5. Keep your mind on Jesus.

Meditate on this verse, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (Hebrews 12:2 MSG)

God’s purpose for your life is far greater than your problems. Don’t give up when it gets tough. Go to Jesus. Keep your mind on Him!



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The 10 People You DON’T Want on Your Staff

The 10 People You DON’T Want on Your Staff (and What You Can Do With Them)


I work with church leadership teams literally every day of my life. It is absolutely one of the most joyous things I have the privilege of doing. When you get a group of passionate Christ-followers unified around a compelling mission and vision who also possess the desire, gifts, talents, abilities and resources to move it forward, few things are as exhilarating.

As thrilling as this type of leadership culture is, the opposite is equally as frustrating. When leadership teams needlessly stall the advancement of mission and vision over C-issues, it becomes truly maddening.

Yes, maddening. My heart breaks for pastors in these types of churches because they simply have no chance.

John Maxwell was right when he taught that a leader’s success is determined by those closest to them.

The following is a list of 10 People You Do Not Want on Your Church Leadership Team. Pastors, these individuals will ensure you and your church have little chance of success.

1. The ’80s Man.

This person continually celebrates the achievements of the past (sometimes long, long ago) and views those methods as the only ways to advance mission and vision.

The ’80s Man has not had a new thought since the ’80s. Rick Warren says, “You have to learn to honor the past without perpetuating the past. We all are products of our past but not prisoners of it.”

2. The Devil’s Advocate.

First, the devil does not need any help.

Second, I do not want to be in a room with people who tell me why something will not work. I want to surround myself with people who bring solutions and help make things work.

3. The Cannibal.

This is the person who feels it is their job to keep everyone else accountable. They simply eat people alive. They do not foster accountability. They foster cannability.

4. The “No” One.

This is the person who leads with “No” rather than “Yes.” They have to be convinced to agree to even the most minor leadership decisions.

It just becomes exhausting getting them on a train which has already left the station.

5. The Feeler.

The Feeler has no idea why they are against the ministry initiatives. They just are, even though no one else has any concerns.

There is a caveat here—any experienced leader has had times when something doesn’t feel right in their gut. You should trust this feeling. When this happens, humbly say, “I know this doesn’t make sense, but something just doesn’t feel right here. What do you think?”

This approach is healthy. The problem comes when a person says this about each and every issue.

6. The Chauvinist.

This person dismisses the value and perspective women can bring to leadership.

7. The Enemy of the State.

This person is the worst. They are against the pastor.

There is nothing worse than a person who is not for the pastor and does not do everything within their power to help the pastor succeed.

Also, give your pastor a raise!!! How much—MORE!!!

8. The Union Rep.

Rather than acting like a leader, they choose to represent the dissatisfied and disenfranchised of the church. The Union Rep uses phrases like, “A lot of people are telling me,” or, “There are many people in our church who … .” Ignore the Union Rep and their fabricated statistics.

9. The Hunter.

The Hunter likes to put heads on their wall and notches on their belt. This person tells stories of previous leaders they have “held accountable” or put in their place.

Be wary of this person. You are likely next on their list. They will try to convince you they know more than you, are better connected than you and have a deeper understanding of scripture than you.

They are laying a trap. The Hunter is on the prowl for their next trophy kill. Do not let it be you.

10. The Genius.

The Genius knows more about each and every subject than anyone else. The challenge with The Genius is you cannot teach someone something they think they already know.

If you have any of these 10 people on your leadership team, you have several options:

1. Develop them.

Let’s best honest. I have most likely been every one of these 10 people at some point in my leadership, and probably you have as well. We all started somewhere and can still get better as leaders.

Therefore, this is the best option. No one is perfect, and if they are teachable and have the passion to become a better leader, you can develop them.

2. Confront them.

Remind them of what your church in general, and this team in particular, is trying to accomplish. Show them where they can be part of the solution.

3. Wait.

Most teams have a length of service. Hopefully, they will just rotate off soon.

4. Pray for God to remove them.

This is the passive and often healthiest approach.

5. Remove them.

Rather than just praying God removes them, please know sometimes you are the answer to that prayer. This is where courage is needed to have the hard conversation.

Your thoughts? 


Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See for additional insights.


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Millennials Most Godless and Politically Independent Generation

Millennials Most Godless and Politically Independent Generation

Added by Matthew Stinson on March 8, 2014.
Saved under Matthew StinsonOpinionU.S.

Millennials – people aged 18-33 – are often described as entitled, coddled, and whiny, most notably by people who are not Millennials. Whether the previous labels are fair or rubbish is up for debate, but a study by the Pew Research Center has added a new list of adjectives for the Millennial generation: godless, politically independent, distrustful, broke, and optimistic.

The survey was conducted Feb. 14-23, 2014, among 1,821 adult Americans, including 617 Millennials and compared to previous studies dating back to 1990. The two other groups compared against Millenials were Gen Xers, aged 34-49, and Baby Boomers, aged 50-67. An important distinction for Millenials is that demographically approximately 43 percent of them are non-white, the highest share of any generation.

Millennials are easily the most godless generation of Americans, with 29 percent saying they are not affiliated with any religion and 11 percent saying they do not believe in any god at all, as compared to Gen Xers who are 6 percent atheist. As faith goes, only 58 percent of Millennials are sure of their beliefs, compared to 69 pecent of Gen Xers.

In addition to being the most godless generation, half of Millennials identify themselves as politically independent. “It’s not that they don’t have strong opinions,” said Paul Taylor, co-author of the report, but rather that they stray from party affiliation. While perhaps not labeling themselves as liberals or Democrats, Millennials tend to vote that way, especially on social issues.

Same-sex marriage continues to be a hot-button issue for Americans, but not so much for Millennials who now support its legalization by a whopping 68 percent. The two biggest factors standing in the way of same-sex marriage becoming legal under federal law in the US are tradition and the Bible. Being young, which Millennials are, makes it easier to detach from tradition, and if Millennials have a tendency not to believe in the Bible, it must follow that they are more accepting of marriage equality.

Millennials are also the most “plugged-in” generation. They are linked to each other through social media and they spend a large portion of their time online exchanging ideas and gathering information as the internet expands everyday. This may explain why they are also the least trusting generation. Gone are the days when celebrities, politicians, and world figures could escape the scrutiny of truth. All humans are flawed in one way or another, and those flaws are now broadcast on the 24-hour news cycle and are constantly going viral online. Books, like people, can also be flawed, which might explain why Millennials just aren’t as into the Bible as older Americans due to readily-available information.

Readily-available information might also explain why Millennials support the legalization of marijuana by 69 percent, as they are unburdened by false claims and retro paranoia. However, their views on gun control and abortion are nearly identical to older generations.

Millennials also are coming into adulthood in one of the worst economies in decades. They are also burdened by incredible student loan debt, as the fight to land and keep a job is a brutal one. Perhaps this is where the “whiny” label comes from. After all, Millennials grew up being told that they could do whatever and be whoever they wanted if they worked hard. For many though, the American dream is becoming harder and harder to capture. A side effect of being broke is that most unmarried Millennials (69 percent) say they would like to get married, but lack the finances to do so.

With all that being said, Millennials remain optimistic about the future, with 49 percent of them saying America’s best days are ahead. For that to be true though, the economy must drastically improve. The Millennial generation being politically independent and not overly bound to specific beliefs in God might go a long way to aid in that endeavor.

Opinion By Matt Stinson


Palm Beach Post
Christian Post
Detroit News


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