How do we know that we are responding according to God’s word?

Dear Pastor,


I have a question. We live life with a purpose. When we are face with a difficult situation, how do we know that we are responding according to God’s word?

Thank You in advance.












Difficult decisions are just exactly that…difficult. To know if you are responding according to God’s word you will do well to take a concordance, find every biblical reference pertaining to the situation you are concerned about, and study those verses. Think about them. Dwell with them. Saturate your mind and heart with them. Read them in context. Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret them for you by illuminating your understanding (John 14:26; 16:13-15). I recommend speaking with others only after doing your own biblical research. Watch out for your emotions. They can cloud your judgment.


If you decide to seek advice from someone, choose a person who is biblically mature and known for wisdom; someone who has nothing to gain by your decision. After all of that, ask yourself what Jesus would do and obey His prompting.


For a more detailed answer to this important question see Decision Making by the Book: Decision Making by the Book: How to Choose Wisely in an Age of Options


~ Pastor Chris

Why does everybody seem to get it and I don't?

Pastor Chris, 

I hate to admit this, but I’m so lost in my life right now and I’ve been struggling with God for about five months now and I don’t understand; all though I try so hard too. I want to believe so bad I get so angry with myself, because the Bible seems so important, but I’m struggling with the fact on How God can see us and know what each one of us are doing. I pray all the time about this, constantly, but I know it’s my own minds problem. I know the Bible states that God is everywhere, but it’s really really hard for me to grasp. Why does everybody seem to get it and I don’t?

~ Jennifer






Everyone has questions about God. You are not alone.


It helps me to read Genesis 1 which describes God as the Creator of everything. I also find my heart renewed in my experience of His majesty when I consider the stars and galaxies of outer-space. The vastness and the complexity of the universe (macrocosm and microcosm) goes beyond the imagination. One of my favorite books on this subject is Powers of Ten: About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe by Phillip Morrison and Phylis Morrison. This book is filled with fascinating photographs of the inner universe and the outer universe that are breath-taking.


We are created beings and cannot know everything or even understand everything. Sometimes I think that if God explained everything that even then I would not understand. An imperfect analogy would be a professor of mathematics trying to explain calculus to an infant. The baby is not going to understand. We are infants in these matters.


You might consider reading the Bible in a contemporary translation like The Message or The Living Bible. Passages like Genesis 1; Psalm 8; Psalm 148; Revelation 21-22 reveal the majesty of our God and will help you trust Him with the unknowable. The bottom line is this: Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). If you want to know what God is like, study the life of His Son.


~ Pastor Chris

What Is The Appropriate Title For A Pastor's Wife?

Dear Pastor,

My grandfather wanted me to email this question that he has been curious about for a while. Where can one find the reference of “first lady” as the appropriate title of a pastor’s wife, if at all, in the Bible? Thank you so much for your time in helping with the answer to this question.



Dear Mariah,

I am not aware of any title for a pastor’s wife given to us in the Bible.


~Pastor Chris 

What are the two greatest commands/instructions that Jesus gave us and in what order would you place them as to importance?

Pastor Chris,
What are the two greatest commands/instructions that Jesus gave us and in what order would you place them as to importance? Thanx!
~ Dan

Jesus was asked this very question by one of the teachers of the law as recorded in Mark 12:28-31. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

As you can see, Jesus said that loving God is the number one commandment or instruction. Loving your neighbor is number two. Certainly Jesus has the order correct. If we love God with all that we have and all that we are, then loving our neighbor will naturally follow.

~ Pastor Chris

What does “bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” mean? I thought we were already saved when we accepted Jesus as our Savior.

Pastor Chris,
Hebrews 9:28 says, “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” What does “bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” mean? I thought we were already saved when we accepted Jesus as our Savior.

~ Pamela

You have asked an interesting question. It is true that we are saved the instant we give our lives to Jesus Christ. It is also true that our salvation has a future element to it. We are not yet in heaven and we have not yet been given our new bodies. Paul speaks of this in Philippians 1:6 when he writes, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

There are three aspects of salvation: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification occurs when I receive Christ as my Savior. At that point, it is “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned.” I am justified or made right with God. I am saved. My sins are forgiven and I have begun a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Sanctification refers to the process of maturing in Christ or growing in grace. The word sanctify comes from the same root word as holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). It carries with it the idea of being set apart for God’s use. Glorification refers to the time when we are given new bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) and we live with Him forever in heaven.

So there is a sense in which a believer in Christ may say “I have been saved” (justification); “I am being saved” (sanctification); and, “I will be saved” (glorification). We might also say that there is past, present, and future aspects to our salvation. The fact that you are in Christ (justified) guarantees that you will be glorified in the future. Jesus is now living in us through the power of His Spirit and as we grow in Him we are becoming more and more useful to Him for His purposes in this world (sanctification). We are now waiting for the consummation of our salvation that Jesus will complete when He returns.

~ Pastor Chris

What does “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” mean?

Pastor Chris,
What does “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” mean? Are people watching us from heaven? Can my mother and my grandparents see me since they are already in heaven?

Sincerely, Naomi


The verse you are referring to is found in Hebrews 12:1. The word translated “surrounded” (NIV) is perikeimenon. This is a compound word from peri “around” (Gingrich, p. 169) or “to be completely encircled by something” (Renner, p. 45); and keimai “lie, recline, be laid out” (Gingrich, p.114) or “to lie down” (Renner, p. 46). When you put the two words together into their compound form, “they mean to lie around, as if something has been piled high and is lying all around you on every side. This is the portrayal of being completely encircled by something that is stacked high on every side” (Renner, p. 46).

The word “therefore” (NIV) in Hebrews 12:1 refers to that which has been written before, namely, chapter eleven. When you consider Hebrews 11, you see that there were many people in the past who were faithful. Although they are now dead, their lives are an encouragement to us to be faithful, too. Their lives can be stacked up all around us as evidence to persevere in the faith. There is no indication here that the deceased can see us, observe our activities, or fellowship with us.

Renner translates Hebrews 12:1 in two ways, “Wherefore seeing we have lying around us on every side…” and “Wherefore seeing these biblical examples are piled up and lying all around us…” (p. 46).

The MacArthur Study Bible (footnote, p. 1889) says, “The deceased people of chap. 11 give witness to the value and blessing of living by faith. Motivation for running “the race” is not in the possibility of receiving praise from observing heavenly saints. Rather, the runner is inspired by the godly examples those saints set during their lives. The great crowd is not comprised of spectators but rather is comprised of ones whose past life of faith encourages others to live that way.”

It occurs to me that if people in heaven could see us down here on earth that it would not be heaven for them. To look down and see the vices of mankind would cause a pure heart to weep and experience sorrow. Revelation 21:4 tells us that in heaven there will be “…no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”

In short, I do not believe that the saints in heaven are watching us. They are surely preoccupied with Jesus and their glorious home!

My understanding of the “communion of the saints” is the fellowship we experience together while we are on this planet. No doubt we will experience a greater fellowship in heaven, but there is no mixing of the two.

I do not know where the thought that “loved ones are up in heaven looking down on us” originated. It is possible that it comes from a misinterpretation of Hebrews 12:1. I do know that the enemy of our souls loves to deceive and thereby ruin lives. Satan will distort Scripture if it suits his purpose. If the devil can get people to think that their loved one is “up there” watching when their loved one was not a person who trusted in Christ, then the enemy can steal another soul. Such a person might think that she will also go to heaven just because she thinks a relative or friend is there. She might even desire to go to heaven, but the reality is that if she has not been born again by a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit in her life she will not get there. Such a person is living on sentiment instead of acting on the facts of the Bible. Emotions can lie.

~ Pastor Chris