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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the darnedest, most interesting questions from people in their churches and people they meet. Here are a few that I’ve gotten over the years of my ministry and via email since this column started.

Dear Father Paul: Our church says an ancient confession every week that in part goes like this ...”I have not loved you with my whole heart.” What does it mean to love God with our “whole heart?” — Dawn

Some of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day tried to trap him with this question, found in Matthew 22: 36-40 ...”Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus says we are to love him (God) totally, yielding ALL (everything) to him. Anything less than ALL falls short and is not pleasing to God. Basically God demands our total commitment ... that we put Him above everything and everybody else ... that we make him Lord!

Churches are today filled with people who have received Jesus as Savior. An old preacher once said, “they have their fire insurance paid up,” ... but over my years of ministry I have met far fewer people who are totally sold out to God.

You see Dawn, God held nothing back. He gave up the most precious thing he had ... his son, to die as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He loves us with his “whole” heart. He wants and expects his true followers to do the same. I know it isn’t easy, and God knows it isn’t easy either. That’s why he has sent the Holy Spirit to help us. Here’s the bottom line. Loving God with our “whole heart” is God’s standard for true believers. If we will do this ... if we will move on to a deeper love for and faith in God, then we will never grow cold and fall away as so many do, but will live each day in power and victory.

Dear Father Paul: What kind of people make the best Christians? — Brad

That’s a very interesting question. In my opinion it is those who come to realize that they have the most for which to be forgiven ... basically the worst sinners, if you will. I have found, on the other hand, that very often people who see themselves as “basically a good person” become what the Bible calls “carnal” or worldly/flesh ruled believers. They might attend church regularly, but are rarely deep or mature in their faith. They often do not love to read and study the Bible or spend time alone with God in prayer. They often fall away or “backslide” or as a minimum never go on to a deep and abiding walk with God.

Really bad sinners, on the other hand, once they are shown that they are lost and undone without the saving grace of God, often repent and receive God’s forgiveness with deep gratitude. They know that there is absolutely nothing in them that is good enough to earn them a place in heaven and without God they have no hope. I think this is why sinners of all types flocked to Jesus and received his “good news.” It’s also why Jesus hung out with sinners, for which he was criticized by the “religious” people of his day. I’ve seriously thought of running a line in my ad for Church of the Holy Cross on the opposite page that says ... “Really, Really Bad Sinners Welcome.”

Special To Ginger: Respect your husband as it says for wives to do in Ephesians 5:33 and you will see an immediate change in him, I promise. No man alive can be unloving to a wife who shows him respect. Yes, he may not deserve respect for what he does, but respect him for who he is.

Got a question? Email me at or phone 678-457-3050.

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