Welcome to Reliable Truth with best-selling author Richard E Simmons III. Are you searching for truth in your life? Looking for talks that will get you thinking? Each week Richard talks on topics like how to find happiness in your work, or how to improve your marriage. Listen anytime – on the way to work or over a lunch break – and you should come away feeling challenged and encouraged.
Today I want to continue discussing the heart of a man as we look at this question: What is it that men really want?
In Dr. Armand Nicholi's book The Question of God, he says this is what he's observed about the faculty and students at Harvard, "They avoid examining their lives, and they do not seem to want to understand themselves. They are afraid of what they might discover."
Is this true of us as men? Are we afraid to confront the truth about ourselves? I am reminded of a quote by George Gilder: "Men lust, but they do not know what for. They wander and lose track of the goal. They fight and compete, but they forget the prize. They spread seed, but spurn the seasons of growth. They chase power and glory but miss the meaning of life." We are all in search of something. What are you looking for?
How well do you know yourself? How well do you understand yourself?
In John Calvin's massive work called The Institutes of the Christian Religion, he opens the volume with this: "All true wisdom consists of two parts: knowledge of God and knowledge of self." French philosopher Blaise Pascal said, “One must know oneself. Even if that does not help in finding truth, at least it helps in running one’s life...”
Yet in this, we come to realize we have a problem. King David realized this in Psalm 64:6 when he stated, "Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep." So what is this driving force in our lives? Join me today as I delve into this important conversation!
Today I'd like to start by sharing with you how I came upon this message.
At The Center, we do a lot of one-on-one meetings. One of the guys that I meet with is in his mid-30s, a very sharp young man, well-educated and articulate. He shared with me that he struggles with fear in his life, and we’ve talked a lot about those fears. And there’s another guy that is a good bit older, and who’s very, very wealthy, and has done extremely well in his life. He shared with me how he wakes up in the middle of the night and he’s got all these fears running wild in his mind, and he that can’t sleep well.
From these and other discussions, I’ve concluded that if you met either one of these men and interacted with them, you would never in your wildest dreams think that they had any worries because they seemed to be “so together.”
I’ve concluded how easy it is for us as men to fake and pretend that we have no worries in life. You know, men aren’t supposed to worry. We’re supposed to be fearless, and yet, what I’m realizing is that, that’s not the case in most of our lives.
You see, fear is a powerful emotion. Today I'd like to discuss the main four causes of fear in our lives. I pray that you will gain valuable insights from today's podcast!
Many scholars would agree that probably one of the most thoughtful books written in the last 30 or 40 years is Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Denial of Death. Becker wrote, “Every person seems to have a need for cosmic significance”. In other words, purpose and meaning in their lives.
He says, throughout history, all the way up until modern times, people knew that they had value and purpose because of the transcendent, because of God. Becker said, throughout history people knew their place in the universe, they knew who they were, they knew their value and identity. He adds, but modern people have lost this. They’ve lost that sense of purpose. He said, “We have become secular.”
So where do we find our meaning in life? Well, 3500 years ago, King Solomon said in the book of Proverbs, that our knowledge of God is where we get our understanding of life; our knowledge of God is how we interpret life. Dr. Tim Keller says, “How we relate to God is the foundation of our thinking. It determines our view of life in the world.”
What keeps us from finding real meaning in life? If I believe in God, why doesn’t my belief really impact my life? Join me for today's podcast as I discuss the answers to these questions.
Today I have a special guest, Drayton Nabers, speaking on the role of Christ in the life of business.
When we’re doing business, we can think that spiritual things are to be done with nonprofits or in the Church, but not in the business world. When we’re in business, we’ve got to make some money. We’ve got to work hard. It’s a competitive marketplace out there. We gotta be tough. So, therefore, why Christ?
Well, Christ has an important role to play in the life of your business. He’s there with you, and He wants you to succeed. And by His Grace, He wants to equip you and empower you, and give you the wisdom to practice whatever you do in the business world in a way that brings Him glory.
So, what does the Bible have to say about the world of work and what does it have to say about God in the workplace? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I hope you enjoy it!
How can I live a life that has purpose and meaning? That is the topic of today's podcast, Part 3.
In Part 1, we talked about how many people see happiness as a feeling. We looked at all of the destructive tendencies that creep into a person’s life when they believe that pleasure is the source of true happiness in life.
In Part 2, we considered the factors that lead to happiness, starting with God’s role. We concluded that God is the true source of happiness. But to really get this, I must ask myself: What kind of man do I want to become? We tend to focus on what we’re experiencing, but God is more interested in the kind of men we’re becoming. When you become a man of strong Godly character, then obedience to God becomes natural. So we talked about the importance of obedience.
How does Christ play a role in helping you find purpose and meaning in life? Answering this question is critical. It’s the foundation of finding true purpose and meaning in life.
This is Part 3 of my 3-part series. I hope you enjoy it!
*This episode has been updated to correct an error that occurred last week. Enjoy!
What is it that satisfies the thirst of the soul?
In Part 1, we talked about how many people see happiness as a feeling. We looked at all of the destructive tendencies that creep into a person’s life when they believe that pleasure is the source of true happiness in life.
What is the role that God plays in the search for happiness? Why is He important in finding happiness? Let's start by thinking about the human desires of the body. When we enter into this life we have four basic desires - all physical desires. We get hungry, thirsty and tired, so we eat, we drink and we rest. Then we hit puberty and our sexual desire kicks in. These four basic desires of the body called the sensual side of life.
Yet what is this desire that we have for joy and happiness, for peace, to love and be loved - not sex, but to love and be loved? It’s not a physical desire. It’s a spiritual desire. It’s a desire of the heart and the soul. Again, what satisfies hunger? Food? What satisfies thirst? Drink.
So where I want to go with this today, guys, is to ask the question, "What is the role that God plays in all of this?" If he satisfies this thirst in our souls for joy and happiness and peace and love, how does that happen? What is His role in our lives? What is his role in this elusive search of happiness that people are having so much trouble with?
This is Part 2 of my 3-part series. I hope you enjoy it!
I truly believe that many adults experience great unhappiness in life. A lot of them experience depression, which is not something that people want to admit, particularly men. We’re supposed to be on top of things, we’re supposed to be competent, together, and to acknowledge our unhappiness is something that we’d rather not do. This is a fascinating topic and I've found that it really is resonating with so many people that I’ve been sharing it with.
So, the question is, where is happiness found in this life? Over the next 3 podcasts, we’re going to explore this.
In our search for happiness, does God have a role to play? Why is He important in finding happiness?
I believe that happiness is a byproduct of living in the center of God’s will. You see, God never intended for happiness to be the object of life. It’s a byproduct of living our lives in the center of God’s will. When we seek to be in the will of God, we will find we are living in harmony with our design. We’ll be living the life that we were meant to live.
This is Part 1 of my 3-part series. I hope you enjoy it!
So much has been written on the issue of evil, but today I'd like to take all that I have read over the last six weeks on evil and try to distill it down into a 45-minute presentation. I pray that it will be enlightening to you. If at any point you get hung up with anything I’m saying, just hang on with me because we’ll keep going.
I've taught a two-part series on “Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?” where I discussed evil in a general way. There’s a difference in natural evil, like a natural disaster or physical disease and what I want to cover this morning, which is human or moral evil.
The issues that I raise this morning about moral evil are crucial for any thinking person to understand. I ask you to hang with me as I go through this, and I think when we get to the end, you will see that there is a critical application to every single one of us. My prayer is that each of us would be open to see what God would show us about our own hearts.
Today I'd like to talk about something that's very important to me - I call it the Great Paradox of Life.
The apostle Paul addresses this in I Corinthians 1:18-24, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Paul is contrasting the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of men to the wisdom of God. I am sharing this with you because I believe there truly is an art to living this life, and because life is governed by certain principles. Wisdom is seeking to live your life in harmony with these principles.
So many of God's important truths are foreign to the world because they are counter-intuitive. Yet the truth and the wisdom of God is often paradoxical.
The topic that I want to address this morning is fascinating. And, I believe that it will be of real benefit to you. One would think this concept is just common sense. Unfortunately, many modern people don’t seem to use common sense.
I'd like to start with some words that I know you’re familiar with: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These are the opening words of the Declaration of Independence.
Of course, that was 1776. From those words, we in America as a nation seem to have this foundational belief that there truly is a connection between liberty, or freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, and finding happiness.
Now, fast-forward 13 years from the signing of the Declaration to 1789, when George Washington gave his first inaugural address. In that inaugural address, he added a little something to that thought. Washington said, “There exists, in human nature, an indissoluble union between freedom, virtue, and happiness.” He threw in that word virtue.
So here, 13 years later, Washington realized that in order to have a free society, there has to be a certain character quality in the people. There has to be an ability to have self-restraint. He says, “This is necessary for any culture to flourish.” But, as you know, we seem to have lost this understanding of what it really means to be free.
What is it about the human condition that causes us to want to “one-up” someone else all the time? What is it that causes us to, and it makes us feel superior to others? What causes us to always compare ourselves to other people and why is it we’re always worrying about what other people think about us? This is what’s called the pride of life.
C.S. Lewis says that each of us have this great flaw within, and though we see it in other people, and we loathe it, we have a hard time seeing it in our own lives. He says it’s like a spiritual cancer that eats up our souls. It keeps us, he says, from being able to love, or ever find any real contentment in life.
You’re probably thinking, isn’t there a positive side to pride? Yes! There are two definitions. The first is, “justifiable self-respect”. It’s the idea of taking pride in what you do. Seeking to be the very best you can be in what you do, and that’s a positive definition of pride. But what I’m going to be talking to you this morning about is, the simple definition of pride as arrogance or self-conceit - the Greeks called it hubris. To have a too high view of yourself. And Lewis goes on to say that pride, if you really want to get to the heart of it, is really kind of, it’s competitive, so to speak. He says it’s rooted in comparison, where a person wants to be better and superior to you.
We all face this dilemma deep within our souls. So, what does a person do? What am I supposed to do?
Tim Keller says that all of us are starved for glory because we have this deep sense in our souls that our lives just don’t really matter. He says the worst thing for a human being is not to be disliked, or to be vilified. He says the worst thing for us, particularly for us as men, is to be ignored. To be overlooked. To feel like my life is just not very significant. And he says, this is why, in the deepest recesses of our hearts, we are seeking for glory out in the world. Out in our sphere of influence. And this is why so many men have instability in their hearts because they are desperately seeking to impress and win the approval of others. And, for this reason, and we see this often in our work, we as men are constantly looking for ways to convince the world, and ourselves, that we matter, and that our lives are really important.
Today I am discussing Jesus' parable about the pearl of great value, taken from Matthew 13:44-46. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which a man found and hid, and, for joy over it, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Is there anything out in the world that you would sell everything you have for: your house, your cars, any investments you have, liquidate your retirement account, take all of that and sell it so you can get something of great value? You know, in order to do that, it would have to make everything you own pale in comparison to whatever that object is.
So today, I want to look at two things 1) What does it mean, to sell everything you have in order to get this treasure? and 2) What is the parable of the pearl merchant all about? Then we’ll look more specifically at the parable of the pearl merchant and what that parable is all about. One thing in context to the parable - pearl merchants were wealthy people. They had to have some degree of wealth because they were always buying and trading pearls which had great value. And so, they had to have some degree of financial wealth in order to stock their inventory.
Today is the last message in my 4-part series on pride and humility. I want to look at how God has special regard for the humble, and then I want to look at how to integrate this life of humility into our personal lives. I want to share a few verses with you and look at how God has special regard and honor for the humble.
Psalm 10:17. “Oh, Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble. You will strengthen their heart. You will incline Your ear.”
Psalm 25:9 “He leads the humble in justice. He teaches the humble His way.”
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but, with the humble, there is wisdom.”
Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.”
And lastly James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you.”
God has incredible regard and honor for the humble, and what’s interesting is, He doesn’t have that kind of regard for anybody else.
This is Part 4 of my 4-Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
This morning, I want to share a few more words with you about pride so that we can truly see how destructive it is in our lives. And then I’m going to share some words on humility. As I’ve said before, pride is so insidious and that it slowly grows and develops in our lives and becomes well-established without our knowledge. God hates it because of what it does to us. And I want to look at one more aspect of pride and how it impacts our thinking in how we regard other people.
This is Part 3 of a 4-Part series. In these final two episodes, we’ll look at God’s promises to those who live humbly as they walk through life. There will be a major application in Part 4, so you don't want to miss it.
Today I want to look at the pitfalls of comparison. Comparing ourselves to others impacts our lives, our behavior, our relationships with others, and ultimately it impacts our relationship with God. Now, I’ll start by looking at some scriptures that I think will be helpful, staring with I Thessalonians 2:4, where Paul says, “Just as we’ve been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak not as pleasing men, but God Who examines our hearts.”
How is my life, my thinking, my behavior, and the motive of my heart affected by what others think of me? In other words, why do we allow other people’s opinions of us to be the gauge in which we measure our lives? And why do we think our lives don’t count very much, unless they count in the eyes of others?
This is Part 2 of a 4-Part series. In the final two episodes, we’ll look at God’s promises to those who live humbly as they walk through life. There will be a major application in Part 4, so you don't want to miss it.
Today I am starting a new series on the issue of pride and humility. In the first two episodes we’ll look at the issue of pride and just how deadly it is in our lives, and then, in the final two episodes, we’ll look at God’s promises to those who live humbly as they walk through life. There will be a major application in Part 4, so you don't want to miss it.
I want to start with the book of Isaiah, chapter two beginning in the twelfth verse. It says, “For the Lord of Hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased. And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan, against all the lofty mountains, against all the hills that are lifted up, against every high tower, against every fortified wall, against all the ships of Tarsus, and against all the beautiful craft. The pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be abased, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”
Proverbs 16:5 states this in a similar way, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord. Assuredly he will not go unpunished.” Throughout the Bible you’ll see a phrase, which we’ll talk about in some of our future episodes, which is this, “God is opposed to the proud.”
Now, I think we all have this desire to know, well, who are the proud? Surely not me. I know there are a lot of proud and arrogant people out there, but surely not me. There are two ways to define pride. One of them is "justifiable self-respect"; the idea of striving for excellence and being the best that you can be; the idea of taking pride in what you do. That is a positive definition.
But the pride that God detests, the pride that is such an abomination in His sight is arrogance. And arrogance is nothing more than an internal feeling or impression of superiority over others. The Greeks called it hubris, which meant too high a view of yourself.
This is Part 1 of a 4-Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
Today I'd like to share my Good Friday message I gave last weekend, focusing on Isaiah 53. It is interesting to note that chapters 40-55 of Isaiah have to do with what God will do in the future, yet Isaiah was written over 700 years before Christ even enters the scene. Many scholars contend that this is the best single chapter in the Bible to explain what will happen in Jesus' crucifixion.
"Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God,
stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." - Isaiah 53:4-6
Do you see the significance of this? The crucifixion was all about us. Jesus did it for us, and He did it voluntarily - for you and for me.
Easter weekend is really different from all other weekends and holidays on the calendar. Because if you think about it, we’re commemorating two of the most significant events in all of human history. And of course, Easter weekend, I guess some would say, started last night on Maundy Thursday, but really, it starts in my mind today, on Good Friday, that somber day where we reflect on the Crucifixion and then leads on to Sunday when we celebrate joyfully Resurrection.
Today I want to share with you some thoughts on both of these events, and then I’m going to, at the end, bridge them together, really pull it together into a central theme.
I want to read to you two verses out of the book of Acts. It’s Acts chapter 17, and it’s where Paul gives his famous sermon at Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. You know, Paul goes into Athens, that was the center of learning and scholarship where all the Greek philosophers were, and as you’re reading, Paul interacts with some of the stoics who were a certain school of philosophers there, and they are so fascinated by him, they take him to the Ariopagus which is this place where he can stand and speak to a big group of people and have discussion, kind of like Hyde Park in London. And Paul gives this brilliant talk, and he quotes their philosophers. He quotes their poets, and then he gets right down to the end of his sermon. And this is the way he closes it. He says, “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent because He’s fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man who He has appointed having furnished proof to all men, by raising Him from the dead.” Now, one of the first things that strikes me about these words is that Paul says that God has fixed a day out in the future when He’s going to judge the world. And he says, “He will judge the world justly and in righteousness.”
So, as we think about this judgment, we have to ask the question. But when you think of any kind of judgment, what is the criteria? What is the scale that’s going to be used to judge us by?
How can we find real peace? Physician, futurist and author Richard Swenson's work focuses on what he calls, “cultural medicine.” I’d never heard of that. He researches the intersection of health and culture. He looks at how culture impacts our mental, emotional, our psychological, and even our physical health. Interestingly, he wrote these words well before this current pandemic came along. Listen to what he says,
“People have always been stressed.” He said, “It’s simply part of living this life.” He says, “There’s always been change to cope with. There have always been economic problems, and people have always battled depression. It’s the nature of life to have its ups and downs. So, why all the fuss?” He said, “I’m not the one making the fuss. I’m only writing about it. I’m only being honest about what I see all around me. I sit in my examining room and I listen to people. Then I report what I hear. And, I can tell you,” he says. “Something is wrong. People are tired and frazzled. People are anxious. People are depressed. People don’t have time to heal anymore.” This is interesting. He says, “There’s a psychic instability in our day that prevents peace from implanting itself very firmly in the human spirit. And, despite the skeptics,” he says, “this instability is not the same old nemesis recast in a modern role.” He says, “Something has changed.”
And, I find that phrase, psychic instability, to be a good term for what’s going on in people’s lives. I’ve heard from two different news sources that at least a third of the people in our country, right now, are having real mental health issues. And, you know, I believe that that’s true.
So, what I’d like to do is drill down and get to the heart of this issue. Because it strikes me that this Coronavirus has really shattered our assumptions that our world is safe and it’s well under control, that we have things under control. This is one of the reasons I believe that nations, particularly our nation, has drifted away from God; we feel secure. We don’t really need Him. But when we do this without recognizing it, we are throwing open the door for fear to infiltrate our lives. Why is that?
A couple of years ago, I noticed something in the Bible that I had never recognized, and in the book of John, whether you are aware of this or not, there are 21 chapters, and it dawned on me that the last 11 chapters, over 50 percent of the book of John, deals with really the last week of Jesus’ life. And then you have the Resurrection. I share that because in John chapter 11, we read of an incredible event that ultimately led to the crucifixion, which is what we reflect on Good Friday.
What happened was that this event pushed the religious leaders to the edge. They finally realized, we have got to get rid of this guy. And the event that I am speaking of, which you may or may not be familiar with, is when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:19 says, “There were many, there were many Jews present who had come to console Martha and Mary.” In other words, Jesus performed this incredible miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead in front of a crowd of people. He didn’t do it in a vacuum. Think about what, I mean, imagine if you were there! But there was a crowd, and, as word gets out in this Jewish community, just think of kind of the explosion that probably took place. And the talk that went around.
But what you notice is that there were three basic ways that people responded to this incredible event, and I want to talk about those this morning with you a few minutes and look at these responses. Then I would ask you to look at your own life and ask, "How is this pertinent to me in my own response to this man Jesus?"
Why did Jesus’ death change everything forever? What did He mean when He said, “It is finished?” Well, the answer glimmers all through scripture, but it’s packaged precisely in Romans 1:17, where the apostle Paul writes, “For in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed. A righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, 'the righteous will live by faith.' For in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed.”
Well, from the outside, it doesn’t seem like much, that a Man died on a cross. I’ve heard the Gospel likened to a jalapeño pepper; it looks cold on the outside but when you bite into it, it will burn like no tomorrow. Ingest the Gospel, understand it down to the core of your being and it will burn its way down to every fiber of your being and have an impact on everything that you do and every decision that you make. How you spend your money. How you treat your wife. How you treat your ex-wife. How you discipline your children. Everything you do, this Man’s death on the cross wants to touch. Why? How?
If you understand the Gospel, and you really absorb it and you are taken to the emotional and psychological, the ontological cleaners with it, you can’t help but come away from this message and be changed by it. There’s nothing more important than Jesus’ crying from the cross, “It is finished.”
Today's talk is by my friend Paul Walker, who spoke at our Good Friday Mens' Breakfast several years ago. I pray that it blesses your life!
When Jesus speaks, everything He says that’s recorded in the Gospels is significant. Some of the things he says are parables, or stories with symbolic meaning. I am intrigued by these parables. Today I will dig into one of these parables, taken from Matthew 13:44-46. This message is from a weekly Bible study that I teach at The Center for Executive Leadership in Birmingham, Alabama.
Some of my Bible studies right now are hosted via Zoom. If you are interested in attending one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to tell me that you heard about it here on my podcast. Best regards, Richard
Today I'd like to share a message by Dr. Tim Keller, which he gave at The Center's Mens Breakfast in November 2019 here in Birmingham, Alabama. Tim's message draws some lessons from the early Church for us today and what we’re facing in our own culture, as the Christian church is declining. Increasingly, you have people out there who not only don’t believe in God or don’t believe in Christianity, but actually think Christianity is bad for people. And say that religion is bad for people. And religious people are a threat to our democracy and a threat to our social order. We’ve never faced anything like that, but the early Christians certainly did.
So, then the real question is why did so many people become Christians then in the first three centuries when Christianity was so persecuted? Why would anybody want to become a Christian? Keller ends the talk with a special time of Q and A. I hope you enjoy it! - Richard
Tim Keller is the Chairman and co-Founder of Redeemer City to City, which trains pastors for ministry in global cities. He is also the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the author of New York Times bestselling books The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and Prayer.
Why is our world so broken? I believe the world is broken because of the spiritual condition of man. The Bible describes our natural condition as being in spiritual darkness. Tim Keller says spiritual darkness comes when we turn away from God as our true light and make something else as the center of our lives.
In John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life." In Luke 11:34-35 “The eye is the lamp of your body and when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light, but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness." He’s warning us to watch out and make sure that the light that you think you have is not actually darkness. This was written 2000 years ago and unbelievably pertinent to our lives today.
So how do we find our way out of the darkness? Well, your eye, or perspective, is the lens through which you see life. It’s your perception of reality. Stephen Covey calls it a paradigm. We see life through various paradigms. The academic world and the political world use a word that I like. It is the word “worldview”. What Jesus is saying is, your perspective, your worldview, your perception of reality can be rooted in the truth or it can be rooted in falsehood. And He’s saying if it is rooted in the truth, your life will be full of light, and you’ll be healthy, and have vitality to your life. He says if it is rooted in falsehood, your life will be full of darkness.
Throughout history, one of the intellectual debates that seems to come and go is this question, “Is mankind intrinsically good or is he intrinsically evil or depraved?” In fact, I think it would be interesting to hear the diversity of opinions then we might get from all those listening to this podcast.
As we are experiencing many changes in our world today, I think it’s important to understand why our world is so broken. So, I want us to consider this: What is the true condition of man, and is there any hope, particularly for our kids’ generations as we look out into the future?
Was Jesus more than a man in history? Was he just a great moral teacher? Great moral teachers don't make the kind of claims that Jesus made. Was he the Son of God? He claimed to be, so if he isn't actually the Son of God, then he was lying.
Whether we believe Christ was the Son of God or whether we don't, or whether we're not sure, I personally believe that every one of us should ask the question, "What is the evidence that would lead me to believe that Christ is the Son of the living God?" Consider that question - is it reasonable? Is it rational for an educated man or woman living in the 21st century to believe a claim such as this? In this talk I will point to four different parts of evidence for you to consider.
This is a follow up to last week's podcast episode "The Bible: Truth or Fiction?"
Back around 1984, I came to the conclusion that I had committed my life to a religious faith that had as it's source, a book. The Bible. A book that claimed in fact to be God's divinely inspired revelation to mankind. And though I had discovered personally that it was experientially true. I had to admit that the primary reason I believe that the Bible was God's Word is that, that I'd been told that all my life.
Maybe you've experienced that as well. But for me personally, I needed to go deeper. I needed more of an intellectual foundation on why Christians throughout the centuries have staked so much there - even their very lives on the words from a book that claimed to be God's Word. And that's the basis of this message this morning. It is a work in progress because I'm continually refining it.
For more on this topic, check out my apologetics book Reliable Truth.
Have you given much thought to the big questions of life: Why am I here? Why do I exist? Author Peter Kreeft observed that, "We are the first civilization that does not know why we exist."
Author and pastor Tim Keller says this about our Western culture, "We're the first culture in history where men define themselves solely by performing and achieving in the workplace. And because of this," he says, "in men's lives, there's never been more psychological, social, and emotional pressure out in the workplace as there is today."
In the traditional social order, work was seen merely as a functional means of providing for the family and improving the quality of life within the community. In other words, work would not and could not define your life worth and value in a more absolute sense, as it does today.
“How relevant is God in my life, and do I get a sense of meaning and purpose from Him in my relationship with Him? Does he impact who I am as a person? Do I really matter to anyone?
Today I want to discuss the evidence I have found for the existence of God.
Christian author Tim Keller said, “Though you may not realize it, how we relate to God, either whether we believe in Him or whether we don’t believe in Him - it is the foundation of your thinking. Because it determines the way you view the world, whether you believe God exists or not, this belief is the foundation in which all of your reasoning proceeds.”
I believe that the greatest influence on your world view - the way you see the world - is based on how you see God. Your worldview really informs you about everything; it informs you on on life's biggest questions: Why am I here? How am I supposed to live? How do you find meaning in life? And, what is my ultimate destiny once this life is over?
More about this talk can be found in my newest book Reflections on the Existence of God. Read Chapter 1 for FREE - Click Here!
Today I am going to address a very important question: Is Christianity the only valid religion, or are there other paths to God? As we live in this world full of religions and full of diversity, this question is going to continually come up.
Is it true, as some religions teach, that there is one God, but many paths to that God, or is Jesus the ONLY way to God?
Today I’m going to tackle a very difficult topic - to tackle this in 45-minutes is difficult because of the nature of the content. If you read the book of John, there is a very important word that’s mentioned 27 times. And, yet, when you look at the other gospel books of Matthew and Luke, this word is rarely mentioned. This word is almost exclusively used by Jesus.
The word I am referring to is the word TRUTH. In John 8:31-32 Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, then you will truly be My disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Then in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through Me.”
In the Christian life, truth is paramount. When Jesus was speaking the truth with Pilate, Pilate asks Him, “What is truth?” and then walks away as if he doesn't actually want to know how Jesus would respond.
In its simplest definition, TRUTH is that which is real and actual. It’s that which conforms to reality. C.S. Lewis said, “Once you embrace Christianity, it's not because it makes you feel good, but because it’s true. Christianity is not a patent medicine. Christianity claims to give an account of facts to tell you what the real universe is like.”
In today's podcast I share about two different meetings with 2 different men, both who had some type of belief in God and Jesus, but they didn’t want Him to play an integral role in their lives. Clearly, there were certain barriers in their lives that kept them from coming to a legitimate faith.
What is it that causes men to keep God out of their lives?
I wonder, how many of us, when it gets right down to it, really don’t want any part of Christ because of the fear that He might disrupt our lives. I really believe this is a barrier in many men’s lives. A barrier to faith. A barrier to belief.
Today I want to continue discussing the relationship between wisdom and the principles of life. In Part 1 we discussed the Principle of the Path. In this talk I discuss 3 other principles that are crucial to leading a healthy life. You don't want to miss this!
This is Part 2 of my 2-part series. I hope you enjoy it!
We have a great need in the challenging days we are living in for wisdom. In today's talk, I want to introduce to you the relationship between wisdom and the principles of life. Principles are not good or bad - they are not moral. They are simply true. And what's important to know is that principles make life predictable. They give life order. Are you in need of order and peace in your life?
This is Part 1 of a 2-part series. I hope you enjoy it!
One of most enlightening things that I have learned this past year, especially when I counsel men, are some words from Blaise Pascal, who says this, “One of the primary reasons people struggle so much with life is because they have false ideas about reality.”
We need to work on our perspective so that each of us will know how to have a strong foundation to weather the storms of life. I think it’s important that we realize that maybe, just maybe, God’s perspective on the struggles we face is different from our view. So, the question that we need to ask ourselves is this: What is it I need to know about God and His truth that will enable me to properly interpret what I’m experiencing in the hardships of life?
This is Part 4, the final message in this 4 Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
How do we view difficulty when it comes into our lives? In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we looked at the issue of perspective, which is a critical part of having a strong foundation for life.
Pastor and best-selling author Tim Keller says, “We all have a basic motivational drive. Every human heart has something that drives them. It gets us out of bed and it gets us through life. It moves us to do what we do and for most of us, I believe what drives us is fear. After all these years of pastoring, I truly think this is it. The fear of missing out, the fear of not proving ourselves, the fear of not living up, of being somebody, the fear of failure, the fear of death.” Today and for Part 4 we’re going to go deeper and look at how we live our lives and how we respond to the storms of life.
This is Part 3 of a 4-Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
How do we deal with fear, anxiety and stress in our lives? In Phillip Yancey’s book, Where is God When it Hurts. well-known Swiss physician Paul Tournier says, “Only rarely are we the masters of events in our lives, but we are responsible for our reaction to the event, to the events that come into our lives,” and he says, “what counts is the way a person reacts in the face of suffering, because when it comes, a positive, active, creative reaction will develop us. A negative one will stunt the growth in our lives. The right response at the right moment may determine the course of a person’s life.”
This is Part 2 of a 4-Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
It’s the middle of the night. You know, you went to sleep, hoping for a good night’s rest, now it's 2 am. You get up and go to the restroom, come back and get in the bed, and all of a sudden, you start thinking about things. You don’t intend to, you just start thinking, and the next thing you know, you’re wide awake, and all these little mole hills in your life have become a mountain, then you can’t go back to sleep, and you’re feeling all this anxiety.
In these unprecedented days of uncertainty, how will you deal with your fears, anxiety and stress? I'd like to share 4 primary causes of fear and anxiety in this life and how to deal with them in a healthy way.
This is Part 1 of a 4-Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
Merry Christmas! Today's podcast is taken a Christmas blog that I originally wrote several years ago. I share one of my favorite stories that illustrates the ultimate reason Jesus came into the world.
I hope that as we enter this Christmas season, and get caught up in the pageantry and celebration of His birth, that we would not forget that God sent His Son into the world, to rescue us from the domain of darkness and from the wrath to come.
Are you experiencing real freedom in your life? Are you overspending this Christmas? In an attempt to give your family everything they could ever want, have you become a slave to a job that you hate? What is freedom anyway, because our wants are endless.
Today I share a story from Paul Harvey that reveals the one essential ingredient necessary to experience true freedom. Tune in now!
Now more than ever before, we need truth! In Hosea 4:6, God says, “My people perish because of a lack of knowledge.” And then 2 Timothy 2:15 speaks of the importance of accurately handling the word of truth. And the reason Paul says is, it’s so easy to mishandle it. Today I'm looking at questions that people wrestle with as they consider the Christian faith. I was meeting with a guy yesterday, where he asked this question, “Why is there evil in the world? Why do babies die innocently from accidents?” It’s important to answer these hard questions, making sure we have a true knowledge and understanding of the Gospel to have a true knowledge of salvation.
I believe all of us worldwide are ready for the coronavirus to be over. Austrian-Canadian scientist Dr. Hans Selye wrote a total of 30 books in his quest to better understand stress and human emotion. Toward the end of his life, Dr. Selye summarized his research, declaring that anger, bitterness and revenge are the emotions most harmful to our health and well-being. He also concluded that a heart of gratitude is the single most nourishing response that leads to good health. Gratitude and thanksgiving are like therapy for the soul.
In this holiday season, much emphasis is placed on thanking God for the positive blessings of life. And we should. But how should we respond to negative circumstances when storms blow into our lives?
Most of the natural disasters we face have a beginning and an end. Once they are over, the damage is assessed and the rebuilding begins. There seems to be at the very least some degree of certainty about the future, and what it might look like.
This however, is not the case with the Coronavirus Pandemic. We do not know when or how this is going to end and consequently are forced to admit that we are not in control. Furthermore, if you are in a high risk category, whether by age or an underlying health condition, you face daily the possibility of serious illness or even death.
In this podcast I am sharing about my recent book Walking By Faith Through a Pandemic. My prayer is that you would experience genuine peace in the times we are living, and gain valuable insights from this talk. Best regards to you! - Richard
How do we articulate our own personal world view? More importantly, how do we defend our point of view? Today Richard joins Kerby Anderson on the Point of View Radio Talk Show to discuss Richard’s book Reflections on the Existence of God.
Kerby Anderson is the President of Probe Ministries and host of Point of View Radio Talk Show. This episode originally aired on the Point of View Radio Talk Show on August 6, 2020. Click here to Listen to the complete episode.
Martin Luther King Jr. was probably the most visible spokesman and leader of the civil rights movement in America. He is best known for advancing civil rights using the tactics of non-violence through civil disobedience. It is quite evident that Dr. King approached those he was seeking to influence with great humility. However, it was not from a position of weakness or condescension, or speaking from the moral high ground. He approached them as an equal, as one seeking to be a person of good will who was speaking to another person of good will.
In his own words, King said, "If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness."
As you listen to this podcast, I ask you to consider how he approached those who opposed him and racial integration. We could all learn a great deal from the example he set.
Have you ever noticed the competing desires in your life and how they can be so contradictory? For example, if you want to be healthy, fit and live a long life, but you also smoke cigarettes and drink heavily, at some point, you realize your model breaks down. The competing interests require that you choose a side, and you finally understand freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, as your desires can be endless, easily colliding with each another. We believe we are only free if we can do whatever our heart wants.
Author Tim Keller says that sometimes you have to deliberately give up your freedom to engage in activities and thought processes that will enable you to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom. Do you want that kind of freedom?
Child psychologist David Elkind believes there are at least three contemporary sources of stress that mark our age as a difficult one. First, due to the alarming increase in violence and crime, we are more afraid. Second, due to rapidly changing job markets, technology, and economic factors, we are more professionally insecure. Finally, due to widespread separation and divorce, we are more alone.
These words were written several years ago but they still ring true today. I think when we faced riots in our streets, businesses boarding up their windows, and curfews being enacted, many people experienced a great deal of anxiety. However, as I have worked with men over the years, it is hard to determine if a man is struggling with fear, because we do a good job concealing it. In our culture, real men are not supposed to be afraid, so we fake it. Is it possible to have real peace? And is this life all there is?
In March of 1965, I remember driving home from the beach. It was a Sunday. We stopped to pick up a black man who was hitchhiking to Selma. I remember my Dad asking him if he was participating in the march and the man said that he was going to see his girlfriend.
Then something happened in August of 1965 that is still seared in my memory. Our family went to New York to attend the World’s Fair. One day we stopped by Macy’s department store. I was thirsty and looked for a water fountain. When I finally found it, I noticed there were two fountains, one for blacks and one for whites. To this day I can remember how stunning this was to me. Yet this is the world I grew up in.
I think many of our leaders are trying to determine how we find our way out of this racial divide. How do we deal with the sin of racism? I keep hearing of new legislation, but really, will new laws root out a heart of superiority? Can a law make a white person love a black person? I’m now 66 and wonder if much has really changed from the 1960’s. Tune in to my podcast to hear more!
Most issues regarding money are judgement issues. For this reason we all need wisdom in the handling of our finances.
There are 3 questions that the Bible and the book of Proverbs asks us about money: 1) How did you get it? 2) What is money doing to you? and 3) What are you doing with what you have?
Learning the answers to these questions can reveal the heart of our attitude toward money and give us true financial freedom.
This is Part 2 of my two-part series. I hope you enjoy it!
Billy Graham once said, "If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life."
I couldn't agree more! If your attitude on money is right, it's easier to develop the proper balance between work and family. Most issues regarding money are judgement issues, and for this reason we all need wisdom in handling our finances. There is much wisdom in the book of Proverbs, especially in the area of relationships, work and finances.
This is Part 1 of a 2-Part series. I hope you enjoy it!
British scholar C. S. Lewis says that, “Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before... You are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature.”
Could there be a slow deterioration of the quality of my life based on what I am sowing and reaping? And if so, am I willing to sow in a different direction?
In this week's podcast, Richard Simmons III discusses sowing and reaping, and how the quality of our choices truly determines their outcome. Join us!
Do you feel alone and separated from God? Are you longing for something or someone that can truly satisfy the deepest longings of your heart?
You can go to the greatest resorts, eat at the finest restaurants, drink the finest wines, play on the world's top golf courses, have great sex, but the problem is when you wake up the next morning, you're still thirsty. These are wonderful things, but they don't satisfy you fully, because ultimately, our thirst is in our souls - we have a thirst that can only be satisfied by the Spirit of God. We were made in the image of God and we need to know our Creator.
This is God's great Rescue Mission - Christ became a man, and has come to rescue and free us from our brokenness and the powers of darkness. We cannot rescue ourselves - let Him rescue you today!
This is Part 2 of Richard's 2-part interview with Carrie Abbott, host of Relationship Insights Radio show based in Seattle. You can find this and hundreds of other interviews at carrieabbott.com.
If you could ask God one question, and be guaranteed that He would answer, what would it be? Recently USA Today conducted a survey asking this very question - the number 1 question people wanted to ask God was this, "What is my purpose here?"
In this podcast, Richard discusses his personal journey in searching for his purpose in life, and how this led him to write his most recent book The Reason For Life. In this book, Richard writes that purpose implies design. If this is true, then there must be a Creator. Be encouraged - your life matters! In Christ, life makes sense!
This is Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Carrie Abbott, host of Relationship Insights Radio show based in Seattle. You can find this and hundreds of other interviews at carrieabbott.com.
It seems that when it comes to pain and suffering, I think our natural first response is, how do I get this out of my life? Most of us are more concerned with how things are going to turn out, but God is more concerned with how we’re going to turn out. That’s His focus.
How do you prepare for the storms of life? How do you respond to them when they come into your life?
Dr. Hans Selye, the first true pioneer in discovering the impact of emotion on a person’s health, wrote 30 books on the subject, and at the end of his life, he summarized everything he’d learned in all of his years of research. He concluded, “Vengeance and bitterness are, as the emotional responses to our circumstances that will do us the most harm,” but “gratitude is the single most nourishing attitude for a person’s good health and well-being.”
This is Part 2 of a two-part series on Pain, Suffering and Evil. If you missed Part 1, be sure and go back and check it out!
Why does God allow pain, suffering and evil in the world? And why is it that suffering sometimes causes people to turn away from God? I believe we're not dealing with a problem that needs to be solved - rather, we're dealing with a mystery to be understood.
My purpose in this podcast is for us to gain understanding and make sense of the pain, suffering and evil around us. This topic leads to a very important question we should all ask ourselves - What is the ultimate good in life? Please tune in and join us!
Next week in Part 2, we'll deal with how to prepare for, and then respond to pain and suffering when it enters into our lives.
What is the purpose of your life? If your life has a purpose, your life will be fulfilling and you will have a deep sense of joy.
At the end of your life, don't you want your life to matter? Just as happiness is a by-product of a meaningful life, so futility is a by-product of a worldly life. Tom Brady, winner of six Super Bowls said, "There has to be something greater for my life."
In a hostage rescue attempt, Navy Seals were shocked that the hostages they were trying to rescue wouldn't leave until one Seal 'became one of them.' That's what God did in sending Jesus to earth. He became one of us.
So many of us want success and riches and fame, but at the end of the day, what that comes down to is our deep desire for significance.
Why do we live to impress those around us? Why do their opinions weigh so mightily on us?
In this podcast, we look at the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12. Richard asks us questions like: What would you call your true riches of life?
What will be of value to you when you are lying on your deathbed? What is wisdom to you, and how much of that do you truly possess?
C.S. Lewis said, “If you’re spiritually going in the wrong direction, or really in no direction, it’s never going to become the right direction... Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
Are you headed toward the true riches of life?
How do you measure a man's life? What are your aspirations for the rest of your life? What are your dreams?
I want to share with you four thoughts today to help you evaluate your life as it relates to what I call the performance trap. I’d ask you to be honest with yourself, because I think it’s a very healthy thing to examine yourself, to know yourself. In fact, John Calvin says that wisdom consists of two parts: knowledge of God and knowledge of self. So, it’s a healthy thing to understand yourself. Please join me and listen in!
Can the human heart be changed? Can it be transformed to do good? I invite you to join me in considering these questions.
Many years ago, in its infancy, Time magazine asked several hundred prominent philosophers and theologians to write a response to the question, “What is Wrong with the World?” G.K. Chesterton, the celebrated English journalist and novelist, was among those contacted. He wrote back: "Gentlemen, In response to your question, 'What is Wrong with the World?' I am. - Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton"
Many years ago I asked a group of men if they believed human morality was improving and if we were becoming a better society. To my surprise a bright attorney quickly responded, “Absolutely.” I was dumbfounded. He proceeded to share his optimism about the future as if human beings were perfectible and that a Utopian society might be achievable in our lifetime. That was well over twenty-five years ago and I wonder if he has changed his mind.
In his early years, the great twentieth century thinker and author H.G. Wells believed passionately in the perfectibility of human beings in our society. Yet shortly before his death, Wells completed his final work, The Mind at the End of Its Tether. In it, he concluded that "there is no hope for mankind."
Can the human heart be changed? Can it be transformed to do good? I invite you to join me in considering these questions.
If there is a God out there, why did He put me here? What is the reason for my earthly existence? Join Richard today as he discusses these questions from his newest book, The Reason For Life. Today's podcast comes from the "Good Morning, Ozarks" show with KLFC Radio in Branson, Missouri.
To get your FREE copy of Richard's new book, The Reason For Life, text WISDOM to 345345. Get yours today!
The decisions and choices we make are the foundation of our life. Jordan Peterson says our choices either lead to order or they lead to chaos. They lead to excellence or they lead to mediocrity.
You see, life is not made by the dreams you dream. It is made by the choices you make. Do you need wisdom for your life? Join us and listen in today!
As we enter 2019, I want to address an issue that has great influence on our individual lives, though we generally are not very aware of it. I would like to introduce it through a riddle. Can you guess the answer?
Stanford psychologist Phillip Zimbardo made this observation, “There is nothing more detrimental to a person’s life than isolation. There is no more destructive influence on physical and mental health than the isolation of you from me and us from them.”
Yet, incredibly, we trivialize human existence and human relationships with the excuse of time-demands and the pressures of work.
Can a person be truly happy if they struggle with loneliness? Join me to listen in on my thoughts on this.
Harvard Business Review recently reported that, “Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s."
Why is human loneliness so problematic? Why does it cause such harm and dysfunction? There seems to be something in our wiring that requires us to be in relationships with others if we are to be healthy people.
This issue, I believe, strikes at the heart of the existence of God, the reason we are here, and what we are designed to do. When we live as we were designed - to think, to reason, to communicate, to love and be relational - we flourish.
Last year I wrote a book titled, The Power of a Humble Life. In the book I write that “Humble people are grateful people.” This is one of the main qualities that characterizes the lives of the humble. They recognize who deserves the credit for everything in their lives. True heartfelt thanksgiving is a way in which we humble ourselves. Are you cultivating a thankful heart today?
Philosopher Dallas Willard says that, “Meaning is not a luxury for us... It is a kind of spiritual oxygen that enables our souls to live.”
Do you live your life with a sense of real purpose? Does your life today have a deep sense of meaning? I’m convinced it’s very difficult to live a healthy, vibrant life without the thought, without the knowledge that my life does have a sense of meaning.
Are you making a lasting difference with your life? How do you want to be remembered when your life is over?
This message lays out three principles that clearly point to a life of excellence. I am convinced that if one lives in accordance with these principles, his or her life will flourish and prosper. Are you living a life of excellence?
The great philosopher Augustine once said, “Is not a happy life the thing that all desire, and is there anyone who altogether desires it not?”
Do I live this life with a sense of purpose? Does my life have real meaning to it? True happiness is a byproduct of living a meaningful life, but how does one find that meaning?
Listen in to find out!
If you knew that no one would ever know, what would you say that you fear? Or who? Would you get rid of those fears if you could? The fear of failure and the fear of rejection, along with other fears, can just cascade into our lives and create all kinds of problems. Then of course, we never talk about them. Because if I talked about my fears, what would you think about me?
Welcome to the first episode of Reliable Truth with Richard E Simmons III! Today Richard talks about our search to satisfy the desires of our heart. When you get or achieve the ultimate and it lets you down, it makes you wonder - if this doesn't satisfy me, what will?