Newtown, CT: How did our God allow this to happen?

newtown ctThe breaking news from Newtown, CT is heartbreaking to say the least. I literally cannot even imagine what the families, that town, the authorities, and the churches are going through. A while back we had a single-person school shooting in our city, and it was devastating to say the least. I cannot imagine being involved in such a tragedy on this level. My prayers go out to all of those involved.

How do we respond when people ask “How did our God allow this to happen?” What are some of the best Scriptures to refer them to? Can God really be both all-powerful and all-loving in such tragedies? Does this bother God when there are tragedies happening all around the world?

When answering questions like these in tough times, we must keep in mind both emotion and truth. We cannot forget what people are feeling and the answers they are wanting to hear. So how do we respond? How do we defend our great God? Not to diminish or minimize this horrific event at all, but there have been countless terrible and tragic events throughout history that have left people wondering these same types of questions. Honestly, God does not need our defending. He is Creator, and we are all His creation. But God has given us wisdom to make sense of these type situations in accordance with the truth of His Word.

We know that horrific tragedies like these involving sin and death always break the heart of God (Genesis 6:6, John 11:35, Ephesians 4:30). Then if God hates sin and is powerful enough to stop it, why doesn’t He? That is a very difficult question to answer. We see throughout Scripture that there are many sins, tragedies, and deaths that God did not stop. Yet He ended up using them and turning them somehow for the ultimate good of His will (Genesis 50:20). Does that mean that God planned this to happen in any way? of course not! God’s Word is very clear that He never even tempts anyone with sin (James 1:13). The point is, God is so holy and removed from sin that He would never tempt with sin much less cause sin to happen. But out of His grace, God can use the sin, tragedy, and death to bring about His glory and some kind of good on the earth in the overall bigger picture and scheme of things. I can’t explain that, and I don’t even pretend to understand how good might come out of this. But that is how powerful, wise, and victorious our God is!

God turned the greatest tragedy and injustice of all history to His greatest good to ever happen. Continue reading

Framework #38: Best Book Ever – Will it really change my life?

Free files for student pastors and small group leaders:
6 – Best Book Ever – Infallibility (mp3)
6 – Best Book Ever – Infallibility (handout)
6 – Best Book Ever – Infallibility (ppt)
6 – Best Book Ever – Infallibility (outline)
6 – Best Book Ever – Infallibility (service)
6 – Best Book Ever – Infallibility (small groups)
Best Book Ever sermon intro video:
This is the last sermon in our “Best Book Ever” series. Booooo! So I wanted to conclude it as powerfully as possible…and the INFALLIBILITY of Scripture was perfect for that! Infallibility does not mean “no fallacies” or no mistakes. Rather, infallibility means that Scripture will not fail to accomplish what God promises it will accomplish. So this is talking about the power of Scripture, the ability of God’s Word to change our lives, etc. This is huge because the ultimate purpose of Scripture is not merely to be read or preached, but we read and preach the Scriptures so that we are equipped to live our lives powerfully with, through, and for Jesus. So here you go, one last sermon on Best Book Ever, all about the Infallibility of Scripture in the lives of students.

cbsm sermon video: “doctrine of providence – how can i pray to make a difference?”

With understanding God as providentially in control, and His will for our lives…the question remains: what good does prayer do to change the mind of a sovereign God? So this message was all about how to pray effectively to make a difference.