Youth Conference 2015 Q&A - Part 1

During the West Coast Youth Conference in 2015 I held a seminar on Relationships. You can view it by clicking here. After the short seminar was completed I really wanted to leave more time for Q&A, which I did through the help of Google Voice. Half way through the Q&A session my internet died on my iPad so I finished the questions I had and ended on time. After service though, I checked my cell phone to see how many more questions were asked, and to my surprise I had roughly 124 questions left unanswered. So through a few blogs, I've decided to try and give concise answers here over the next few weeks. Hope this helps.

Below are the first set of questions and my responses as best I can.

Q1

I wanted to ask this question but I was too late last night, I hope you can help me. My boyfriend and I got carried away one night and somewhat lost our virginity. We didn't go all the way, well no need for details but what's done is done. After that we haven't put ourselves in that situation and we fasted and regretted going that far. We are baptized and we were wanting to ask, as our next step in getting married in the next few months are we allowed to still have our blessing at our wedding or no ?

First off I want to say that I'm sorry to hear that you and your boyfriend crossed some lines that left you both hurting. I'm really glad that you've let the Holy Spirit talk to you about it, ultimately resulting in Godly sorrow and repentance. (2 Cor. 7:10) I also want to say that I'm really proud of you. I'm proud that you two realized that you have to avoid putting yourself in those situations to begin with and that you're seeking counsel on how to live beyond sin. After a bad decision all you have is your next decision. Now, about your wedding blessing - it depends on what you're referring to. If you're referring to the blessing that God pours over your marriage as you make a covenant before Him and the church - Yes, His blessing is still upon you. God doesn't turn away people who have repented from sin, in fact He forgives you and purifies you from ALL unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Realize that your wedding day is a testimony to that, to the covenant that God has made with His people. He will never leave nor forsake them. (Psalm 94:14) Those who repent and turn from their wicked ways He will forgive. God's desire for you is a healthy marriage, He isn't bitter and holding a grudge towards you. Yes, He HATES sin, but He LOVES you! So as we turn away from sin and come under Christ's blood, so does God's wrath turn away from us. Now, if by "wedding blessing" you're referring to your pastor praying over you - that's between you and your pastor. I don't believe most pastors ask such questions, however my advice to you is this. Don't give a 50-50 answer. Either you both lost it or you didn't. You can't lose 50% of your virginity, so make a decision, pray about it, and go from there. Hope this helps.

Q2

If you are not a Virgin can you still have a blessing at your marriage ?

I believe that God redeems and restores that which was broken and lost. Can you still have God's blessing in your marriage if you've lost your virginity? Yes. But understand it's God's blessing of where you are. Example: If I take someones life and go to jail, can God bless me if i turn my life around? Yes, of course He can. But it'll be His blessing over my life in jail. He may even turn things around and get me out of jail and His blessing will be over me outside of jail, but as an ex-convict. Now here's the thing that I think is most important to understand with what I just said: there is no such thing as a second-rate Christian (Romans 2:11.) God's blessing & forgiveness is SO powerful that it outweighs ANY variety of sin. Any life you live He can make exceptionally wonderful according to His will. If you live in America and have millions but don't have God, you may very well be empty. If you live in a slum in India but have God, you'll live a much richer life than the "rich." God is the change factor. Don't focus on your circumstances, or your past. Focus on His goodness and on His will for your life. Remember, God's blessing isn't an object that you gain and lose like a set of car keys. It's the relationship with Him that grows or declines with the choices we make. (Galatians 6:7)

Q3

How many years max is too much in between you and the person you like?

This is really a subjective question. It's subjective to cultural & societal norms - but I do have some insight to hopefully guide you on your journey. With the man older and the woman younger there is a larger limit than vice versa. In any Human Development class you'll learn that people pass through different phases in their life. This is important to understand in a general sense because people go through different stages, and if you're not in the same place as your husband/ wife it will be a marriage that is more prone to difficulty. Also, it's important to understand what age range you're referring to. Age difference of 4 years lets say, isn't big between a 28 and 32 year old. However a 16 and 20 year old is a considerable difference. When you push past 6-8 years in age difference between a man and a woman you begin to set yourself up for more and more difficulty. Not that it's a sin, or impossible, it's just going to lend itself to more difficulty. If the woman is older, typically couples are better off keeping that distance as short as possible. Women and men finish developing psychologically at the ages of 20-25. Women tend to be more towards the 20's and the men more towards the 25's. Since women typically mature faster, it'll be difficult to have a marriage that is balanced. Paul teaches us to not be married with unbelievers because we'll be "unequally yoked." (2 Cor. 6:14) In context he's talking about unbelievers marrying believers, however the principle of not being unbalanced I believe still stands. For example, if a Christian gal who's sold out on being a missionary in Africa married a man who comes to church only on Christmas and Easter, they're setting themselves up for a difficult marriage. Same idea here, try and find someone who you'll be most compatible with as you pray and seek God's will.

Q4

Is abortion a sin?

Yes. God made us in the womb, He gave each of us a soul and an identity formed in His image. To kill an unborn baby is to stop the miracle of creation that is taking place. God's in the middle of His handiwork and we intervene for our convenience. (Job 31:15, Psalm 139:13-14, Jeremiah 1:5) With that said, I want you to know that if you've had an abortion, or know someone who has, that God is a God of forgiveness. He wants to heal your hurt, and forgive you of your sins. (1 John 1:9) There is no sin that outweighs the cost of the Cross. He has the power to forgive you and set you free from the shame of your sins. He loves you and wants to mend you back together if you're broken. He is able, just take His hand.

Q5

What's so bad about losing your virginity before marriage?

Several things actually - lets start with neurologically. In a book written by a christian MD's titled Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children the authors explains how through advances in science they're now able to identify more and more the impact of sex on the brain. When a young person is physically intimate with another, the brain undergoes a chemical process and builds a physical connection with that person. When that relationship falls apart the brain has a hard time severing that connection which can many times lead to depression, anxiety, and several other experiences. When a person has multiple partners it makes it more and more difficult for the brain to make that initial connection & ultimately the commitment. So what's so bad about losing your virginity before marriage? Specifically that it makes you far more prone to experience multiple encounters of sex without the commitment - thus opening the door to do harm to yourself. It also helps usher in a selfish mentality of satisfying the self in sex without commitment and setting you up for difficulty in marriage. Sex isn't supposed to be about satisfying self, it's supposed to be a time of intimacy and love expressing itself through physical action. It's about the 2 people becoming 1 in all aspects. It's not about the self. If you're not committed to a person on the deepest of levels (marriage) then you won't be able to experience sex as God designed it. If you sleep around before marriage to satisfy self, then intimacy in marriage will be much more difficult. (Same goes for pornography by the way. If you think marriage will cure it, you're in for a surprise.) Also, mental images will stay with you throughout your marriage and they're not an easy thing to shake. Lastly, and this point could of been the whole answer and been more than sufficient, it's bad because it's sin. Sin separates us from God - and that on it's own should be enough.

Q6

Do you lose the holy spirit if you lose your innocence?

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by lose your innocence, but that's ok because I'm going to focus on the "lose the Holy Spirit" bit. (And by lose the Holy Spirit I'm assuming you mean the baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues.) I think that many people look at this wrong. The Holy Spirit isn't an object that we misplace or lose, He is as Jesus and God the father are. I also don't think our focus needs to be on fearing we've "lost" Him, but rather on walking further in relationship with Him. The enemy wants to make you live in fear, and to do "godly" things out of this fear - but you'll never know the Holy Spirit deeply this way. This is the way of religion - serving out of duty and not out of love. Don't let the enemy beat you over the head with anxiety, instead understand that God forgives the repentant heart, and that He wants to give you the Holy Spirit more than you want it. (Luke 11:13) Just ask, believe, be re-filled daily, and walk further with God.

Q7

How many girls/guys can I talk to at once to figure which is the one?

I'm assuming you're the right age for marriage and you're intentions are to try and find a husband/wife. This is tricky because of our culture and our Romanian Christian bubble. If you go out to a coffee with 1 girl and later in the week with another, because of our close knit community they're going to know and they'll hate each other and you. But even so, I'd say there isn't really a need to go out with multiple girls/guys alone to try and find the right one. You can get to know a girl/guy well enough in a group setting to see if you want to pursue it further. Once you decide to enter into a time of courting, that has to be exclusive. You can't court multiple girls/ guys at the same time. That's having multiple boyfriends/ girlfriends and in any scenario that's wrong.

Q8

Is it okay to date a non-christian person and bring them to Christ?

Absolutely not. Sorry, that may seem real direct - but there are few places I've seen young people make larger bad decisions than here. 2nd Corinthians 6:14 says to "not be unequally yoked with unbelievers" I can't imagine a more unequal yoking. The reason for a bad decision doesn't make it any less bad. In almost all cases I've seen (and I've seen quite a few in over a decade of ministry) the person who was a Christian crossed lines they never thought they would, and when the broke up the person in the world lost any interest in the gospel. You can't be their messiah, all you can do is lead them to the messiah. You also can't be their reason for being a Christian. Godly sorrow for a sinful life and a repentant heart to a loving savior needs to be their reason. If you truly care for a person who doesn't know the Lord, then you'll NOT date them to bring them to Christ. How can you try and bring someone to Jesus by disobeying Christ's word? Or are you using Godly excuses to fulfill your desires? I apologize if I'm too harsh, but I love your soul enough to tell you the truth.

Q9

If we shouldn't worry about trying to find the lady or man to marry, what do we do when we have huge crush on her/him?

Great question, let me clarify. It's not that you shouldn't worry about finding a lady or a man, it's that you should focus on first being the right person and then when it's the right timing look for the right guy/gal. But about the crush - 1. take some time off. Seriously, if everything they say or do makes your heart flutter, try and take some time away from them. Also, don't fantasize or think about them throughout the day (I know this sounds obvious, but seriously don't do it!) (Galatians 6:7) and 2. Pray about it. When my wife first had feelings for me she prayed that God would take them away if it wasn't His will, and He did! 3 years later she started to crush on me again and she prayed the same prayer then too, and you know what? God didn't take the feelings away. So we got married!   (Because the right person, at the wrong time, is the wrong person.)

Q10

How about waiting on God and stop looking until God reveals her?

I go to God for all my needs, He's real awesome at providing. (Philippians 4:19) We don't need a plan B when we trust him. Until it's your time, you don't need to be looking.