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Smoking Hookah

Q: This week a young Christian talked with me about the practice of smoking Hookah. They attend a church [which] is reaching out to the many Indian and Muslims in the surrounding areas. Their church also have several ministries that support missions in India and Arab countries. As they spoke with me they said that many of their Christian friends are smoking the Hookah. They said that they have been told that certain types of Hookah smoking involve no tobacco but are simply flavored water, other types of Hookah smoking do include tobacco but in a ‘more pure’ form than that of cigarettes that have additives. The Christians that they know of who partake in smoking Hookah do not feel that there is anything sinful in this practice and believe that it is just a part of certain cultures as a way to relax and socialize. Apparently during certain celebrations some of these culture groups get together as a family and include smoking the Hookah together as part of the festivities. These Chris

Prayer vs. Petition

Q: What's the difference between prayer and petition? Phil 4:6 for example. A: An excellent word study question! When attempting to study words from the text it is necessary to analyze the word being studied in the original language (in this case Greek) as attempting to look up the words in English will often produce erroneous results. For example, in English the word petition has within its range of meanings things that are certainly not within the scope of meanings for the Greek word (i.e. “a sheet that is signed to demonstrate agreement with some principle or desire for some social action to be taken” is part of the range of “petition” but not of the Greek deesis from which “petition” is translated). The word most commonly translated as “prayer” in our English Bibles is proseuche , which appears 36 times in the New Testament (NT) in one form or another (for the purposes of this study, we are only examining the usage of these words as nouns – the verbal forms will not be

Christ Died For Our Sins

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3) The truth of the gospel includes this important phrase: Christ died for our sins . You've probably heard it before. Many times. Sometimes familiarity leads to a diminished sense of importance. The more you hear about something the more ordinary it may seem. Common. Ho-hum. Boring. But this truth is anything but common. Another difficulty arises with this truth. Beyond being common. It may happen in your ears without you even realizing it. When the truth is declared that Christ died for our sins, you may think you hear the truth. But what you really hear is a diminished version. A partial truth. Instead of hearing that Christ died for our sins you may hear a slightly different version of this truth. You might hear this: Jesus died for your sins. Do you see the difference? You should. These statements are similar. Both m

The "Jesus Loves You" Problem

Q: I've encountered a lot of teaching and Christians who believe that saying, "Jesus loves you!" is a valid form of evangelism. Do you disagree with this? If so, why? It seems like a loving way to reach out and to encourage those who are not believers. A: What a great question! There are certainly a lot of materials and teachings that encourage Christians to use the phrase, "Jesus loves you" as an outreach and evangelistic tool. Much of this teaching that I've encountered emphasizes following the lead of the Holy Spirit. It claims that the Holy Spirit will often lead Christians to say this to non-believers to encourage them and try and lead them to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Fourth Year Ministries does not teach or endorse this as a valid evangelism strategy. That's not because we don't want it to be valid! Truth be told, we would love for this to be a good practice for Christians. It would certainly open some more doors for us. I

Who the Heck is Melchizedek?

Melchizedek, Priest and King Question – I've read about Melchizedek a number of times but am confused about who he is entirely. Can you let me know about him, I feel like I'm "missing" something? Answer - Join the club! I think this is a question that has been asked almost as long as the scriptures have been in print and distributed for people to read and study. Melchizedek is one of the most mysterious characters to appear in the Old Testament narrative. The Book of Genesis is categorized as a history book. Rightly so. It contains thousands of years of history. From the literal beginning of history to the death of the man whose name was changed to Israel. Among other things, it is a book of lineages and genealogies tracing mankind from the first created man (Adam) to the patriarch of the nation that God chose to be His representatives on earth. So, it is a little surprising that in the middle of this narrative, in the story of the life of Abraham, that a