Welcome to my blog. I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and – join the conversation.

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Quick Bio
I’m a businessman, elder in one of the more conservative mega churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan and for over 25 years a full time spiritual mentor of men. I love introducing people to Jesus and truth from God’s perspective. I’m also an NPR listener and student of our culture because I want to understand how the world and a younger generation think, so I’m prepared to engage in conversations which are true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious.

Following Jesus is the only hope I have of living this life with purpose, energy and expectation. I hope to end my days on earth still meeting young men at Starbucks who have no interest in God, being the patriarch of my family, cheering them on to godliness, making sad people smile and the lonely – laugh, giving the poor hope, pointing wayward men back to their families, teaching the whole counsel of God and keeping myself unstained – God’s reputation and mine intact.

More? Go to About.

Welcome to my blog.
I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and join the conversation.

This edition from Simon and Schuster has been totally revised with expanded teachings and a study guide. Available in stores and online now!


   
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Kissing the Face of God
Posted by Clare

I have a gift for you! This is one of the most moving and worshipful Christmas videos I’ve ever seen. It’s a wonderful reminder of Immanuel – God with us. God in the flesh!

Think of it – Mary, the mother of Jesus actually kissed the face of God! This video says in song, better than any blog I could ever write, what Christmas is all about. So, this is “my blog” this week. Consider forwarding it to your friends and playing it for your family this Christmas.

We wish you all a Christ-centered Christmas,
The De Graaf Family

How following Jesus works in real life. 

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Would Jesus Own a Handgun?
Posted by Clare
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handgun

The subject of guns is a touchy one for Christians. Our feelings about them are often wrapped up with a love for hunting, concern about second amendment rights, as well as personal security. So, let’s take two of the three off the table. I believe in the constitutional right to bear arms and in the hunting of animals that are eaten, or are hazardous to humans or farm animals. (Frankly, I can’t imagine Jesus would think killing living things, just for the fun of it, acceptable.) But, I can’t prove that by the Bible.

But, the question before us today is, would Jesus own a handgun for personal protection? Setting aside the fact that he was, and is God and needed no protection, it’s more helpful to ask this question, “Would Jesus condone followers of his, owning a gun for the protection of one’s family?”

I also want to say upfront, that I have friends who are serious followers of Jesus, loving, kind and deeply spiritual who own handguns for personal protection. This is an issue on which serious Christians can disagree. But, I do not own a gun for personal protection and never have and I’ll tell you why shortly. (I do own a shotgun to shoot skeet occasionally, but it’s locked away and I don’t hunt.)
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Does the Bible Permit Divorce for Abuse?
Posted by Clare
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divorce_abuse

As an elder, I’ve seen an alarming trend the last 20 years, it’s the number of Christian women divorcing their husbands for verbal, emotional or physical abuse. The scripture they quote most often as justification for a divorce is this one.

“To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”  1 Corinthians 7:12-13, 15

They’ve concluded that one or more of these things are true of their husbands;
1. He is, or may be an unbeliever as evidenced by his abuse. Therefore divorce is permissible.
2. He has already emotionally abandoned his wife, even if he’s still living in the home.

(While there are cases of abuse by wives, 95% of the abuse I’ve seen is by men against women. Therefore, I’ve written this blog in that vein.)

So, let’s try to examine this issue from both a biblical and human points of view.
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Eternal Security and Assurance of Salvation Are Two Different Things
Posted by Clare
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ThePrayer_Part2

I rarely blog on strictly theological issues, but on Monday I posted a blog on why I’m so hesitant to ask people to pray “the prayer” of salvation, anymore, until I’m confident they understand what and who they’re about to commit their lives to. And, one of the reason why I don’t, is due to the misunderstanding between the doctrine of eternal security (once saved-always saved) and the promise we make people that if they do pray the prayer, they can know without a doubt that they are saved (assurance of salvation).

All of us would like to have assurance of our salvation. But the question all Christians ask of themselves, if they’re honest, “How can I know, or can anyone know, if they’re really saved for sure?”
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