Social Media Use PT. 1

Psalm 144:4 

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  

Psalm 90:12  

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 

The average American spends 23.7 hours a week on the internet. For perspective, that’s the equivalent of browsing facebook, watching youtube, and posting on instagram from 12:01 in the morning until 11:46 at night, with no breaks for eating, sleeping, or using the bathroom one day a week, every week. It’s a staggering thought- even more staggering to consider when the same study goes on to point out that the average American’s internet usage per week has risen steadily since the year 2000 and the rise hasn’t begun to slow down yet. Not only are we spending that much time online, but we’re continuing to find ways to spend more time online finding a life insurance. Consider smartphones, a relatively recent phenomena (only popular for the past 10 years). Seventy-seven percent of Americans own smartphones and the average American checks their phone more than 80 times per day. Something that didn’t exist more than ten years ago for most people, is now considered an essential part of life.  

There is no way we can spend so much time online, and not be changed. From amazon to facebook, the internet has fundamentally changed how we shop, work, play, and relate. Some of these changes are good – we can stay in touch with friends and family at long distance easier than ever before, and it’s never been easier to buy cheap books (and other items, but most importantly, books). Some of these changes are not so good.  

Have you ever started browsing instagram, only to look up a half-hour later and wonder what happened? Do you find yourself reaching for your phone to check youtube anytime work gets boring? Ever feel like if you just scroll a little further on some app or program, that you’ll find something really good? Can I ask an even more personal question: when was the last time you went to the bathroom without your phone?  

It’s not your fault. Tech companies hire well paid teams of phycologists, behavior experts, marketers, and AI programmers to help them build their apps, web pages, and video games in a way that manipulates you into spending more time on them then you realize you are spending. 

Maybe you’re reading this thinking, I don’t have a problem, I control my browsing habits, they don’t control me. If you don’t think you have a problem, humor me- try a 48 hour tech fast. If you’re like most of us (myself included) it won’t be an easy experience. Addicts rarely realize they have a problem until their fix is taken away.  

Why listen to me about how to use the internet? Good question. I do not have a degree in sociology or psychology. My field of study and experience is communications and advertising. I sell advertising for a local media company and have studied both national and local digital advertising. It’s my job to know how the new “attention economy” works. I’ve also worked in an online ministry for thirteen years and seen the rapid changes that technology forces on all of us.  I bring something to the table different than that of a sociologist and psychologist – battlefield knowledge. The battle that I speak of is the battle for dollars, and the terrain that’s being fought over is not hills or cities, but your attention, your emotions, and your time.  

I don’t want you to stop using the internet. But I want you to know some things, some things that will help you be less manipulatable, some things that will help you to keep or reclaim that which is rightfully yours to use as you will- your attention, your emotions, and your time. 

To be continued in Pt. 2…

Author: Samuel Schmitt

Without Excuse


As I stood before the rock wall many thoughts streamed through my head, each bearing an insight or question not of my own making. Spring water was seeping through cracks causing the rock face to glisten in the light from the sun in the eastern sky. Water and Light; always filling the dark voids of life. Ever persistent, Water and Light find a means to bring dramatic transformation. The telltale drilling channels were also obvious; relic signatures of man’s ingenuity and building efforts. Large slabs of sandstone not unlike those which comprise the base of our Capital remain for children and old men to climb, fanaticize and wonder.

God is alive and relevant. Knowing Him is to grasp the utmost source of contentment, confidence and joy. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me” Jeremiah 9:23-24.Indeed this is the supreme distinctive of the Christian faith; in-Christ we can know the Lord God personally. His Spirit eagerly waits to show us His face in every corner of creation, in history and in each new day. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20.

Eternal goodness and blessing come only from trusting God; living in the awareness of His Presence.  We may boast in our prideful capacities; we may even make our marks on stone but earthly achievements soon pass away. How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? Job 36:36-39.

We may hang on to many excuses today for not seeking the Face of God; I’m busy, there’s much about Him I don’t understand, I just don’t have the faith needed, I’m okay where I’m at, I don’t need Him right now. Still, Christ is faithful; in the depth of our need He asks “shall I come and bring you my healing?” When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Mathew 8: 5-8,13

Time out Today:

Father I hear You calling “COME TO ME”. As I stand before the stone walls in my life, help me to let go of pride. Help me to bring my remorse and repentance to You in simple faith. Today as I consider the current troubles in my life, I ask You Jesus to come to me with the refreshment of Your Living Water and the Light of Your Love. COME into me JESUS I ask for Your healing. Amen.

Without Excuse

My habit is to see the wall

Read the signs that say to all

No Hope Here.

But God desiring intimacy

Tender familiarity

Brings His Spirit; offers faith

With cleansing Water Living

Glistening Light forgiving

His purpose is made known.

How can I refuse?

I am without excuse.

Love reaches out to me.

Author: Fred Carlson

What Is The Benefit Of Fasting?

Through out the history of the Church, Christians have participated in Lent as a way to prepare their hearts and minds to realize more fully the glory of the Easter celebration. Now perhaps more then ever, this time of preparation and anticipation is needed in our churches. Our lives quickly become so filled with obligations and activities that Easter seems to surprise us. Lent offers us the opportunity to focus on the greatness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the power in His resurrection, so that when Easter arrives we are not caught off guard. According to Scott McConnell, the executive director of LifeWay Research, one of the reasons people do not observe Lent is because it involves fasting from pleasures. If the fast seems pointless, or if you need some encouragement during your fast I want to share with you some of what Thomas Aquinas had to say about fasting.

Thomas Aquinas is considered to be one of the most influential Christian philosophers and theologians of all time. In his best know work the Summa Theologica, he explains three reasons for fasting.

“First, in order to bridle the lusts of the flesh.” Aquinas points out that abstaining from food or other pleasures helps us to fight off more sinister desires. By fasting we are choosing to discipline ourselves enough to deny ourselves something that brings us pleasure. If you chose during Lent to abstain from Netflix, or social media you are denying yourself the pleasure of watching your favorite show or the escape of constantly scrolling. As we abstain from these simply pleasures we build the discipline to withstand the temptation of more serious sins. The act of fighting against the temptation causes us to turn to God for strength and builds in us the ability to resist something that may bring us temporary pleasure. On the flip side if we are unable to deny ourselves the pleasure of Netflix, or our favorite candy, it is doubtful we will be able to deny the temptation to take a second glance at a sensual photo or to have one too many beers. Denying simply pleasures helps to prepare us to resist the temptation of things that in the short term may be more pleasurable, but ultimately lead to misery.

“Secondly, we have recourse to fasting in order that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things.” When we intentionally sever our attachment to things we find comforting, we are forced to seek comfort somewhere else. Fasting during Lent is an opportunity to force ourselves to turn to God for comfort when normally we may have turned to something else. If at the end of the day you always turn to your favorite video game or channel in order to wind down, consider giving that up. When we suffer through the absence of that comfort we are reminded that our ultimate Comforter is God. Fasting is not simply about denying ourselves something we enjoy; it is about reminding, and perhaps forcing, ourselves to turn to God instead.

“Thirdly, in order to satisfy for sins: wherefore it is written (Joel 2:12): ‘Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning.’” It is difficult at first glance to understand what Aquinas is saying with this third point but when he clarifies with the verse from Joel it becomes clearer. Aquinas is not saying that just because we fast the weight of our sins is removed, that is done through the merciful grace of Christ. What Aquinas is teaching us is that being in a relationship with God is not simply claiming belief in an idea or feeling fuzzy in our souls. God wants all of us to be in love with Him, body, mind, and soul. It is easy to fall into the habit of only worshiping God with our minds, but fasting allows us to worship and adore Him with our bodies. We are denying our bodies something it desires so that our desires can be focused on Him. Whenever we feel the tug in our bodies to consume that candy or just zone out at the end of the day, and we deny it, we are using our physical desires to refocus our attention on God. As we create a habit of having our desires satisfied by God we are more likely in the future to find satisfaction in Him when we have sinful desires. When we are more completely satisfied in God we will begin to realize that sinful things are not truly satisfying. The process of being converted to God with all of our hearts means being won over by God more completely.

If you choose to fast during Lent I hope the words of Thomas Aquinas will help strengthen your resolve. Fasting is difficult, and it is meant to be. Despite its difficulty fasting can be a valuable tool to grow deeper in your relationship with God. Whatever you fast from it is important to remember that fasting is not an opportunity to win the praise of those around us, it is an act of loving devotion to God. Although Aquinas was brilliant he is nothing compared to Our Lord Jesus Christ. So I will leave you with the words of Our Savior from Matthew 6:16-18,


“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”


Author: Nathan Phillips, Associate Pastor of the River Alliance Church

The Idolatry of Happiness

From the title of this article you might assume that I am going to rail against happiness. That is certainly not my intention, rather my intention is to warn against the ever growing tendency to raise “happiness” to such a high level of importance that it turns into an idol. We commit idolatry when someone or something other then God is exalted to the position of utmost importance. For some people this has become happiness.

Happiness has become an idol when it is considered to be the chief aim of ones life. People frequently saw, “Do what makes you happy.” This statement, although often times said offhandedly, is deeply flawed. It elevates happiness to the deciding factor in someone’s choice. What if what makes me happy hurts someone else? What if what makes me happy is watching sitcoms all day, and therefore my other responsibilities are neglected?

Few people can say that when they wake up and go to work they are filled with happiness to find that the plow has created an impenetrable snow wall at the end of their driveway that they have to shovel through to get to their place of employment.

One could argue that this statement is not meant to be literal, or that we have to do many unhappy things to reach something that makes us happy. The primary issue with this statement is that if happiness is our goal we will always be chasing after a moving target. The things that made me happy when I was sixteen are not the same things that make me happy now that I am twenty-four, and if I were still doing what made me happy at sixteen my life would be in shambles. For example, I have a toddler who thinks happiness is playing on my phone and eating insane amounts of chocolate. One of my roles as a father is to deny her what makes her happy now so that she does not throw up later. They sad reality is, chasing after temporal happiness often times distracts us from what will ultimately lead us to enduring happiness.

People mistake happiness for their ultimate goal and they also use happiness as a moral guide. I cannot count how many times I have been in a conversation about a moral choice with someone and they said something like, “Don’t you think I should be happy?” or “I was not happy so I had to make a change.” If happiness is our moral guide then nothing is forbidden. Why should children obey, couples work through struggles, or laborers toil if happiness is their god? If happiness were our moral guide then we would all be justified in drugging ourselves into a stupor and withering away while our minds are filled with euphoria.

Jesus said in John 15:9-11,

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Ultimately we will be left disappointed with temporal happiness if its pursuit means we miss out on Christ’s eternal joy. What makes us happy today may bring us sorrow tomorrow. Actions decided in the present on the basis of happiness may lead to regret and pain in the future. Happiness cannot be our god if we want to live an abundant life, because our hearts long for more then this world can offer.

Happiness, in its proper form is not a goal to be worked towards, but rather a byproduct of proper conduct. True enduring happiness is experienced as a result of living a righteous life and being in right relationship with God, loved ones, and the world around us. C. S. Lewis said, ““If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” If happiness remains as the chief aim of our lives we will find ourselves unsatisfied. If we want to be truly satisfied our goal must be abiding in the love of Jesus and we do that by obeying His commandments. God instructs us to live moral lives not to restrict us from happiness but so that we can experience lasting happiness. We are limited in our perception and therefore we often times do not know what will lead to our happiness. If we take our sights off the goal of being happy and instead aim for Christ, happiness will be the byproduct of a life lived for God. When we remove happiness from the throne in our lives and allow Jesus to take His rightful seat, we will experience true happiness and everlasting joy.

Author: Nathan Phillips, Associate Pastor of the River Alliance Church


Hope In Our Suffering

Suffering is a part of everyone’s life. To be sure there are varying degrees of suffering and some people experience more suffering then others, but if there ever was a common human experience, suffering is it. The Bible is fully aware of this reality and includes many accounts of people who undergo times of difficulty, fear, and pain. Perhaps the most heart wrenching and genuine example of this is found in the book of Job. The book of Job is considered by most scholars to be one of the oldest books in the Bible and deals with many of life’s deepest questions.

Job was a man who had lost almost everything. His children had died, his health had deteriorated, his wealth was lost, and his friends and loved ones eventually lost hope in his suffering. In one of Job’s darkest moments he is so disheartened that he wishes he were never born.


“‘Why, then, did you deliver me from my mother’s womb?
Why didn’t you let me die at birth?
It would be as though I had never existed,

going directly from the womb to the grave.
I have only a few days left, so leave me alone,

that I may have a moment of comfort

 before I leave—never to return—
for the land of darkness and utter gloom.
It is a land as dark as midnight,

a land of gloom and confusion,
where even the light is dark as midnight.’”

Job 10:18-22

Just by reading these words we can get a sense of the torment and the pain Job was going through. He feels broken and beaten down. He sees no hope and no comfort. He feels as though his only purpose in life is to suffer. Unfortunately, Job is not the only one who has felt this way. How many of us have found ourselves saying the same things as Job, or have had a loved one who experienced this same all consuming agony? My heart breaks for Job and for everyone whose heart has cried out in this same way.

Although the Bible includes raw examples of suffering it also provides us with hope. The Bible provides us with hope in several ways. It reminds us that we were not created for suffering, God is present through our suffering, and there is an eternal end to suffering.

Although suffering is a human universal, humanity was not created to suffer. We instinctively know this. Many animals appear to experience sadness when they themselves suffer, and in some occasions when they notice animals of their own kind suffer. Humans however experience sadness and perceive injustice. We are appalled when we see someone suffering, even if we have never met them or if they are thousands of miles away. We are tugged by the confident knowledge that, “this is not right” and “this is not how things are supposed to be.” We perceive injustice because in our very being we recognize that suffering is somehow a foreign agent distorting the image of humanity.

Genesis chapter 1-3 paints a picture of humanities purpose and the beginning of human suffering. God created humans separate and unique from the rest of creation. Genesis one tells us that God created humanity in His image, and appointed them to be stewards of His creation. Humanities purpose is not to suffer but to live in loving communion with God, baring and glorifying His image, and caring for the rest of creation. The perfect harmony between God and humanity was shattered in Genesis chapter 3 when Adam and Eve cast aside the warnings and commandments of God by eating fruit from the forbidden tree in the pursuit of pridefully attempting to elevate themselves above God. It is because of this rejection of God’s purpose for humanity that sin entered the world and with it suffering. The purpose of humanity is to live in loving communion with God, baring and glorifying His image, and caring for the rest of creation. The rejection of this purpose leads to the opposite of loving communion, which is suffering. The effects of sin have poisoned all of creation and we see evidence of this in the universality of suffering. Suffering is not what you were made for. You were made to live in a loving relationship with God, fulfilling the purpose you were created for. Being reminded of this does not eliminate suffering, but it offers hope that we have a greater purpose then to suffer. No matter what you are going through. No matter what people tell you. You are not created to suffer. You are created to love and be loved by the Creator of the Universe, and to fulfill the purpose He has in store for you.

We have hope because God is present in our suffering. We see this in a multitude of Biblical promises. Perhaps the most famous of which is found in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” What few people recognize about this verse is that it was given in the midst of intense suffering. God gave these words while Jerusalem was all but destroyed and its residents were carried off into seventy years of captivity and exile. A mistake we frequently make is that we view Bible promises as an assurance that we will not suffer, but as we know suffering comes. God’s words of encouragement and promise are not a false assurance that we will not suffer, but rather a hope that even in the midst of suffering we are not forgotten and we are not hopeless. God has a plan for our lives and, although as long as sin exists suffering will be a reality, God’s plan does not end with our suffering. His plan for us is greater then the pain and hopelessness we may be experiencing. We can be confident that we are not alone in our suffering. Jesus Christ has stepped into our broken world and taken upon Himself all of the sin, suffering and pain of humanity. The fact that Jesus Christ would be slaughtered on the cross, by sinful men, so that we could be freed from sin and have hope in the midst of suffering was prophesied over 500 years before it took place.

“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!

 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.”

Isaiah 53:4-5

Jesus Christ died on the cross to carry our suffering and sin, and as we experience times of darkness we should have confidence and hope that we can rely on Him to carry our burden.

We also have the eternal hope for the ultimate end of suffering. As we previously discussed we were not created to suffer, but all of creation has been made sick with sin and therefore suffering exists. God has not abandoned His creation and in the end all will be restored. Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse of this reality.

“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’”

Revelation 21:3-4

Suffering is a universal experience but it was not always so and will not always be so. My heart breaks for all who, like Job find themselves in the pit of despair. I encourage you to reach out and share your burden with the people around you. Allow your counselor, pastor, friend, or loved one to come along side you and help shoulder the burden. You may feel alone in your suffering but know that the city of those who have suffered is a crowded one. Lastly, but most importantly rest in the hope provided to us by our Creator. You were not created to suffer. You were created for a loving communion with God, and to fulfill His glorious purpose for your life. You are not alone in the midst of suffering. God is present even in the depths of despair. There is an end to suffering. God has taken all the suffering of the world upon Himself and purchased for us an eternal hope.

May the Lord bless you and keep you
 The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you
The Lord turn his face towards you
and give you peace

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord



Author: Nathan Phillips, Associate Pastor of the River Alliance Church



Abraham: A Life Of Faith

Abraham’s relationship with God is pointed too throughout the Old and New Testament as an example of what it means to live a life of faith. We often talk about faith in our churches, but sometimes the idea of faith and how we live it out can be difficult to process. Lets look at a key passage in the New Testament concerning the faith of Abraham in Genesis and see if we can get a better understanding of what it means to live a life of faith.

The first passage we are looking at is from Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 begins with a definition of faith…

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1 ESV

After this definition the author goes on to give several examples of people whose lives reflect what it means to live a life of faith. The author first talks about Abel, then, Enoch, and then Noah and in Hebrews 11:8 he gets to Abraham.


“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

Hebrews 11:8 ESV


This is in reference to when Abraham was called out from his homeland in Genesis 12. When God spoke to Abraham and told him to,

“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3 ESV)

God told Abraham to leave his home and go to some undisclosed location where God would make him a great nation. God promised Abraham blessing and protection for both him and his descendants. This is an amazing promise, but it also would have seemed like an impossible one.

Lets look at some of the context. At this point in time Abraham was 75 years old and he had lived his entire live under the household of his father Terah. Although Abraham was advanced in age he still had no children. His wife was barren and it looked like Abraham was going to grow old without an heir. Abraham probably had a lot of questions about the promise that God had given him. How was Abraham going to become a great nation when he has no children? How was he supposed to be blessed and be a blessing when he was leaving his support system? God doesn’t give Abraham the answers or the details we would expect if someone were going to pick up and move their entire life. God does not even give Abraham an address or a general location to go to.

Yet Abraham obeyed. Although Abraham had questions and the path was not completely clear he had faith that God would not abandon him. Abraham put his life in God’s hands because he knew that God was good, loving, and righteous. Abraham had faith in the promises of God and lived out that faith by aligning his life with God’s leading.

Unlike Abraham we are blessed to have the rest of the story recorded in Genesis so we know that God would miraculously provide Abraham and his wife with a son, and that God would protect him from the assaults of those who might mean him harm. As we continue to read into the New Testament we see that God blessed Abraham in more ways then he could have ever known. Abraham was promised that he would both be blessed and that all the families on the earth would be blessed through him. God fulfilled this promise most completely by sending Jesus Christ. God sent His Son Jesus Christ, a descendent of Abraham to take away the sins of the world. Through faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross all of us can be freed from our sins and enter into a relationship with the God of the universe.

Abraham didn’t know how the story would end. God did not give him all the answers. Yet he had faith in God. He had faith that God was good and loving, that He had a plan and a purpose for his life, and that He would keep his promises. Abraham had so much faith in God that he was willing to put everything on the line, and followed God wherever He would lead him. Abraham is used all throughout the Scriptures as an example because he had faith in God and oriented his life around that faith. He didn’t sit on his hands when God told him to step out in faith; instead he relied on God and lived out a life of faith.

Too often we reduce faith to the ascension to an intellectual idea, or the affirmation of a truth claim. But faith in God is much more then that. Faith in God is the willingness to bet your life on His love, goodness, and righteousness. Faith is orienting our life around His promises. What would it mean for you today to have true faith in God? What would your life, your family, and your community look like if you acted out your faith? I pray we all have the same active faith that Abraham had.

Our Father in Heaven

Thank you for your promises to Abraham

Thank you for providing him as an example of true faith

Thank you for your Son Jesus Christ

Thank you for the opportunity to enter into a relationship with you

Through His sacrifice

Give me faith that leads to action

Build in me love for you and confidence in your promises

Allow me to actively trust in you when I don’t have all the answers

Allow me to follow wherever you lead

Allow my faithful obedience to be a blessing to the world around me

And make my life a reflection of my relationship with You

So that others will know and love You

In all things may Your name be glorified

And may Your will be done

In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior



Theology Discussion Jan 20th

After the Service whoever is interested is welcome to meet up at Dunn Brothers in Chaska to have an open discussion about theology. There is no agenda just bring your questions to the table and we can search the Bible and work together towards a better understanding of God and His working in the world.


“I used to believe but then I had questions that couldn’t be answered and so I couldn’t believe anymore. You just have never doubted or questioned what people told you about God and the Bible, that’s why you believe.” This was the comment I received at work when a client discovered that I was also a local Pastor. What the man didn’t know was that I had asked questions and continued to ask questions. Questioning is an important part of the Christian faith. In the book of Acts we are told that the ones who heard Paul’s message and rigorously tested it against Scripture were considered to be noble.

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

Acts 17:10-11

But what about when our questions turn into doubts? Lets take a look at some ways that, as Christians, we should deal with doubts.

  1. Rely on the Holy Spirit

“These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:10-11

Remember that when we are reconciling our doubts we are not going alone. God has blessed us with the Holy Spirit, and He is working within us to reveal all wisdom and Truth. A common mistake made by those who have allowed doubt to devour their faith is that they rely entirely on their own intellect. We have the Holy Spirit abiding within us and we should rely on Him while we vigorously pursue truth. Pray continuously and ask God to make clear to us the answers to our doubts. Don’t be satisfied with blind faith. The Holy Spirit works within us, as we pursue truth, to bring our entire being, our heart, body, mind, and soul into harmonious agreement with the Creature. Intellect does not need to be sacrificed in order to have Faith, in fact when it is lead by the Holy Spirit our intellect will deepen our Faith.

  1. Know You Are Not Alone

“Righteous are you, O Lord,

when I complain to you;

yet I would plead my case before you.

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do all who are treacherous thrive?”

Jeremiah 12:1

I can assure you no doubt about God or Christianity you have ever had is new. People have been asking questions since Christianity began and people have been working through their doubts for just as long. Maybe you doubt the morality of Hell or struggle with the idea of suffering. These are age-old questions that have been asked in Scripture and by countless individuals including Church Fathers and theologians. Again you do not need to rely on your own intellect solely, read what the Bible has to say about your questions. Read the great men and women who have faced your same doubts and come out with a more concrete faith. Talk to your Pastor and/or trusted Christian friends who can pursue truth along side you.

  1. Follow Truth Wherever It Leads

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

John 14:6

I am not afraid to have this as my final point, because if we honestly pursue truth, rely on the Holy Spirit, and look to the faithful who have gone before us we will be lead into a deeper relationship with Jesus who is the Truth. We may be challenged and we may be uncomfortable but we will come out the other side with a deeper faith then we had before. That does not mean it will be easy. Perhaps we will learn that our theology or understanding needs adjustment. Perhaps we will need to change the way we behave or the way we believe, but one thing is sure, God who is the source of all knowledge and wisdom will be glorified and our love for Him will be magnified by our honest pursuit of truth.


Author:Nathan Phillips – Associate Pastor at the River Church

Christmas Eve Service

Celebrate the Eve of the Birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve, December 24th, at 7:00pm. It will be a time filled with Christmas worship songs and Scripture reading.

Christmas Party

Join us for Christmas songs, games, and enjoying our favorite Christmas treats on December 16th at 6:00pm. Please bring your favorite Christmas dessert and/or appetizer.