Axiety · Book Reviews · God · gospel · sanctification · saved · Stress · Theology · Uncategorized

A Review of, “Stressed Out: A Practical, Biblical Approach to Anxiety” by Todd “Freakishly Tall” Friel.

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First off, I must issue a disclaimer.  I am a fan of Wretched Radio, and Wretched TV.  That being said, I will still give an honest review of this latest work from Todd.  If you aren’t familiar with Todd, and the gang over at www.WretchedRadio.com I suggest you go look at their web page.  Make sure to stop by the Wretched Store and peruse their wares.  You can also pick up a copy of this book there.  If you prefer you can get it at Amazon or Christianbook as well.

The thought that I kept having while reading this book was, “Where was this when I was in my 20’s?”  I had so many issues with stress then.  I got married to my Wife when I was 19 years old.  She had 2 little baby boys from a previous marriage.  I was an instant Daddy.  I was working part time for K-mart, and Wendy’s.  We lived in a low income apartment with people using drugs near by, and couples fighting, police in the parking lot every weekend breaking up said fights, and little to no opportunities to get out.  So, I was stressed.  My Wife was stressed.  Our families were stressed.  It was a stressful time.  I think you are getting the picture.  I was a new Christian.  I didn’t have anyone to disciple me, and the only resources I had to draw from were the Bible, and prayer.  I had to swallow my pride, and ask my Dad for money for hamburger to feed the kids dinner.  I worked as much as I could, and we kept going forward, even when we got knocked down.  What it has taken me the better part of 25 years to learn, Todd has isolated in his new book.  The Biblical principles detailed in, “Stressed Out” have been distilled from the Bible skillfully with a focused effort to apply the knowledge for the benefit of the reader’s peace of mind, and sanctification.

Before you get all upset and… triggered, don’t assume that Todd is one of those wacky guys who wants you to, “Name it, claim it!” your mental illness away.  He makes sure to acknowledge the differences between situational stress/anxiety from biological/chemical problems with the brain.  This book is for people who are experiencing situational stress and anxiety, who are having difficult times dealing with it.  I don’t want to give too many details away.  I also don’t want to leave information out that would encourage you to pick up a copy.  I want you to have an idea of what is in the book so take a look at this screen capture I did of the Table of Contents;
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So much of our peace of mind depends on our view of God, and ourselves.  In this book, Todd helps you to see the sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, righteousness, and love of God, as well as our own condition in relation to Him.  With the Bible applied to properly inform us, and correct us in areas where needed, we can discover a deeper, satisfying, peace with God.  That peace and contentment will affect every aspect of your life.  So to say, I recommend this book is an understatement.  It is a quick read, but by no means “lite, cotton candy theology.”  If you are a young person, who is struggling to make sense of things, pick up a copy of this book.  Even if you are older, and need a reminder of the peace that comes with trusting God and who He is, this book is for you.

Todd’s book is a good reminder for us. When we don’t see things rightly, we are like Don Quixote. He didn’t see things as they truly were, and he wasted his time tilting at windmills. He thought they were enemies. In reality they were faux-foes or pseu pseu pseudo-foes whoa oh oh… (The butchering of Phil Collins’ song is for mature audiences only, “old people.”) We can see the things, and situations, that we have anxiety, worry, and stress over as ominous, and potent enemies. Todd reminds us in his book, via abundant scripture references, that we are in sin if we succumb to these assaults. In light of God’s word, His attributes, and our place in His redemptive plan, we should know peace, security, gratitude, and contentment.

 

 

 

Stressed Out: A Practical, Biblical Approach to Anxiety

ISBN-13: 9780892217434

Apologetics · Book Reviews · Church · cultural · eccumenism · evangelism · God · Uncategorized

Todd Friel’s, “Judge Not” is an Ambitious Book that Attempts to Assess the Maladies of the Modern Church in America.

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It is a daunting undertaking.  One I was apprehensive about.  I was doubtful that the problems could be covered in a book that is only 320 pages long.  Overall, Todd’s book accomplishes what it was intended to do.  In an effort to promote what I deem a necessary work, I would strongly encourage all Christians to purchase and read this book.  However, I don’t want to spoil any of the, “Ah-ha!” “Amen!” or “Ouch!” moments.  This means that I won’t reveal all of my favorite quotes.  The full title of the book is, “Judge Not, How A Lack Of Discernment Led To Drunken Pastors, Peanut Butter Armpits, & The Fall Of A Nation.”  The title is no misrepresentation to act as a hook.  It is a hook, don’t get me wrong.  It is just very true and disturbing.  The astonishing authenticity of it is the hook.

 For those tens and tens of loyal listeners, Todd needs no introduction, but for the rest of the world, Todd Friel is the host of the Christian radio program, “Wretched Radio.”  He is also the host of, “Wretched TV” on NRB network.  Todd and the guys over at Wretched, put out quality programs, Biblically addressing issues and trends, that concern us as Christians.  Todd’s previous book, “Jesus Unmasked” detailed, and highlighted Christ through the entire Bible.  I was curious about his latest book, because his previous one was so good.  Even though it was a hard act to follow, he can be happy with his latest book.  It was quite different from his previous one.

We look around and wonder how we got here.  As a kid, I was raised in a home without Church.  My parents were both former Roman Catholics.  Mom is Italian.  Her family was traditionally Roman Catholic.  My Dad’s family is German, and very Roman Catholic as well.  Both of my parents deserted the religion of their families for different reasons.  My Mom left because her family deserted her, and disowned her because she was a child of mixed blood.  Her Dad was Lithuanian, NOT Italian!  My Mother was also enjoying the freedom of the 60’s.  My Father left Roman Catholicism after reading the Bible for himself.  They decided to raise us without formal religion and to allow us to figure it out for ourselves.  I grew up thinking that all of the people who went to a Church were Christians.  I had now idea how wrong I was.  Whenever I was invited to a Church for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Mormon Talks, SDA, Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, or Mass, I thought they were all Christians.  I was so confused by the variances and disparities I witnessed.  From the 60’s on  to present day, Churches in America have done little to help people like me who were lost.

With chapter headings like, “Happy Clappy Church, Twisting Scripture, Messed-up Messianic Movements, and Gospel Off-centeredness” Todd takes aim at pretty much all of the problems with the modern Church in America.  Many of the things he brings forward have been concerns of mine for years.  Some of the things were new to me.  I had no idea some of those things were going on.  If you are like me and have been keenly aware that something is wrong, and perhaps you weren’t quite able to put your finger on it then this is the book for you.

Here is the Table of Contents,
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We’ve probably all been to a, “Happy Clappy” Church.  They are the ones that solely focus on God’s love.  They are generally pretty seeker sensitive and rely on entertaining the masses.  Many of us have friends or family in the Messianic movement and have concerns.  Todd echoes these concerns and talks frankly about the problems within the movement.  Todd also shines light on the New Apostolic Movement.  Very troubling things are coming out of it.  It also is being accepted as orthodox by many well meaning Christians.

This book was a quick read.  It usually takes me quite a while to read a theology book, but with Todd’s sense of humor and direct approach, I was able to read it pretty quick.  If you have read some religious books and found them to be dry or slow, you won’t have this problem here.  Todd’s writing is engaging and intelligent.  Get this book and read it.  After you are done, you’ll be able to think of at least a few people you know who will need to read it as well.  I really enjoyed it and it helped me gain some needed perspective on the state of the Church, the gospel, evangelism, and what I can do to help.  You can purchase your copy from Wretched’s store, or Amazon

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Apologetics · Church · Theology

Lost, Saved, Baptized, Rinse and Repeat.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I got saved and baptized when I was a kid, but then I walked away from my faith, and now that I’m an adult, I have come back?” Then, they get baptized again and share their testimony. After a few months of being, “back” they walk away again/backslide. A while later they decide they need to recommit their life to Christ, so they come back to Church and get baptized again. I don’t know how many times, in the Nazarene Church I attended, I heard someone say this, but it was a lot. I didn’t know how to understand this then. I didn’t have the Biblical knowledge to know this was wrong. I knew it was wrong intuitively, but couldn’t build a case Biblically.
I struggled with this myself. Was I really saved that time when I was 19? If so, why am I still fighting these temptations to sin in my life? The Nazarene Church taught, “Entire Sanctification” back then. It was a doctrine that said it was possible for a person to mature spiritually, in this life, to the point where they no longer sinned. I got so frustrated with my constant failings. I cried out to God and told Him, “I can’t do it! I can’t stop sinning! If You want me to stop you are going to have to stop me!” So then came about a 10 year period where I gave up fighting the sins that were too hard to stop on my own. Sure I gave the outward appearance of being a Christian when I was at Church, but at work I still acted like a child. I used profanity all of the time, I told dirty jokes, I engaged in low humor, I entertained hateful thoughts against others because of their political beliefs, and I liked what I saw on television, except I would still cringe when a show used blasphemy. I knew I was doing wrong. I knew from what the Bible said, I was doing these things because my heart desired to do them. I also knew in my head that I didn’t want to keep doing them.
The Church also taught that you could become apostate or lose your salvation if you continued to sin after being saved. This was the doctrine of, “Apostasy.” I remember asking the Pastor about what it said in Hebrews 6, about not being able to be saved after losing your salvation by continuing in willful sin. He explained that was correct. I asked him how anyone can stay saved if that was true. Another person quoted the passage about forgiving 70 times 7. They were trying to tell me if I repent, Christ will keep forgiving me, but if I didn’t repent, and then died, that I would go to hell. All of this didn’t jive with what I was reading in the Bible. It seemed as if people were just cherry-picking passages out of the Bible to justify the way they wanted to live.
The denomination had its own definition of sin. I couldn’t justify it with what I had been reading in the Bible. I knew I was a sinner. I knew I kept committing sins. I felt powerless to be holy like the Church said I must be. My best efforts kept failing. That is why I gave up. The Church said sin was a willful transgression of a known law of God. I asked, “What if I fell into traffic, looked up to see a truck coming, cussed, and then was killed before I could repent?” I was told that was just a mistake, not a sin. So I asked, “What if, I blasphemed instead of cussed, in the same scenario?” I was told I might go to Hell. I was having a difficult time understanding being saved if it was always precariously perched on the narrow ledge of my flawed capacity.
I went down the roads of, “Easy Believism” and “Cheap Grace.” I rejected the doctrines of, “Entire Sanctification and Apostasy.” While I was confused and erring I still knew and was strongly convicted that this was not right either. There is something I am missing. I was going through a very difficult time in my life.  I didn’t trust God with my money, I didn’t trust God with my marriage, and I proved I didn’t trust God by my actions.
A good friend suggested I read the book, “Crazy Love” written by this, Chinese American Pastor from California, with a shaved head. I was not at all anticipating the affect it would have on me or my life. Francis Chan’s book was a kick in my guts. It wasn’t a cruel kick, but rather one that was used by God. He got my attention and exposed how I was lukewarm. I was going to be told, “depart, I never knew you.” It was also about the same time this new radio program was playing on the local A.M. station. This funny, yet serious man named, “Todd Friel” with, “Wretched Radio” kept chipping away at what I had been told by the Church, with truth from the Bible. He was presenting a Reformed view of soteriology. (salvation) It was rocking my world. I was also listening to a local theologian on the same station. His name was Matt Slick. At first I was like, “What’s with this clown’s name? Is he a used car salesman or what?” So I was curious. I went to his website, “CARM.ORG” I read many of his articles and listened to his program and Todd Friel’s program intently and found myself nodding in agreement with them. I got on the internet and watched video after video from Matt Chandler, David Platt, Paul Washer, John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul, Leonard Ravenhill, Martyn Lloyd Jones, and so on. It was like I had this table with a billion puzzle pieces on it, and I only had a couple of corners figured out with some clouds, and these two men were helping me put the pieces together faster than I had ever done before. One day after most of the pieces were put together it was like someone nudged the table and the remaining ones fell into place. It was one of those epiphany moments you have in life.
I don’t want to forget to mention the affect that, “Witness Wednesday” on, “Wretched Radio” had on me. I heard Ray Comfort and Todd Friel presenting the real gospel message to people on the streets and on college campuses. I finally heard the gospel after 15 or so years of believing I was a real Christian. Instead of hearing, “You’ve got a Jesus shaped hole in your heart. Won’t you let Jesus in? God is a gentleman and won’t come in unless you ask Him. He is waiting at the door of your heart, won’t you let Him in?” I was in a state of shock. It was so simple. Why hadn’t anyone preached this to me before?!? Why? Why? Why?! I was so angry with the Church, my friends, and most of all me. How could I not get it? Faith and repentance! Du!
What I had known to be the Christian faith was off by just a scant amount, it seemed Christian, but it was out of phase. Through all of these influences in the middle of my suffering, I heard about real saving faith and repentance that are granted by God. Faith I couldn’t force myself to have in 15 years of trying. Repentance I couldn’t force myself to do, and the effects of these two things. I found myself running headlong into a study of Reformed Theology, the Reformers, the Puritans, and God’s sovereignty. My wife would ask me if we could talk about something other than religion. My co-workers were probably wondering what was going on with me. I would talk about my faith with everyone I met and share the gospel with them. I started evangelizing wherever I went. I actually read my Bible from cover to cover with a reading plan from R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier. I consumed scripture like I had never done before. The word of God became alive to me. Doctrine after doctrine fell into place in a harmony I had never before experienced in all of my piece-meal Bible reading.
I’d be remiss, if I didn’t tell you about the great help Dr. R. C. Sproul’s book, “The Holiness of God” was to me. He corrected the low view of God, the high view of man’s abilities, and the marginal view of sin that I had. It fixed in my head how holy God is, how helpless man is, and how offensive sin is. With this knowledge firmly ensconced in my mind, I could finally put the false teachings behind me.
You see, people don’t get saved and then lose their salvation. They don’t get resaved over and over again. You get saved ONCE! If your life isn’t characterized by growth in knowledge of personal sin and in holiness you aren’t saved. It never happened. Do you read your Bible regularly? Do you hate sin in your life, the sin you used to make room for? Do you love to go to Church and be with God’s people and worship Him together with them? Do you trust Jesus alone for your salvation and righteousness? Do you love to do good works, not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but rather do… YOU… LOVE… to do the good things God has prepared for you to do before creation?
A saved person is a new person. They are a different person. They have a different nature. They are born again. They died to themselves and were resurrected with Christ a new person. I never got this in all those years. I suspected there was more to this religion, but I couldn’t grasp it. I couldn’t comprehend it… yet! Then God worked a double miracle in my life of regeneration, and justification. I trust Him to complete the sanctification that He has started in me. I desire to be conformed to His word and will instead of shrinking from it. I love Jesus! I hope you will to.  Watch the video to get the gospel presented to you.