Q&A at St Peter's Summer 2019

Thanks to the students at St Peter's for all your questions!  Here are some of the answers from the leaders.  We don’t always know.  We don’t always agree.  But we tried our best to share what we know from what God says in the Bible and from our relationship with him so far.   

Do look up the Bible verses.
Do check out the links.  
Do pray.  

And never stop asking BIG questions!

1. How do you know your God exists?
  • Creation (Romans 1:20).  How do you get something from nothing in the beginning without God?  Conscience (Romans 2:15).  Where do right and wrong come from if not God?  Christ (John 1:18).  Who is Jesus?  Transformed lives too.  Check out www.iamsecond.com.
  • I don't know. There are strong arguments for, and strong arguments against, but when it comes down to it, the highs and lows of life are a lot richer if there is a God, and I think that is significant to me when asking if God exists. 
  • In Creation! In the world, you and me! I have an active and living relationship with him. 
  • For me the evidence of God is seen clearly through creation. The beauty of the world we live in is so specifically designed with everything having a purpose and working together. For me that is the perfect example of God being the creator of it all. Nothing is out of place. The uniqueness of human beings, and how we are made completely individually is again an amazing example of how God planned each one of us for a purpose. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he during the time he lived on this earth he stated 'if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.' (John 14:7). He was the physical representation of God himself on earth to us, and that is another reason why I believe God exists. Romans 1:20, Psalm 139:13-15.

2. Have you ever doubted God? 
  • Yes but I don't doubt he exists any more and I don't doubt that everything he says is true.  I have lots of questions, but I know he can handle those, even when he won't give me a clear answer yet.  I trust him with my life.  Proverbs 3:5-6. 
  • Sometimes I doubt if God exists, but if he does exist I never doubt that he is good. He's in charge, he's the Gaffer, so if he built this universe then I trust that he knows what he's doing.
  • Yes – Especially when my Grandad died. 
  • Yes I have. However, that is why it is very important to understand that God created us for relationship with him. A heart-to-heart connection. He didn't create us to gain lots of knowledge about him and just to know of him in our heads – having lots of information about a person does not mean that you actually know that person. Understanding the person of Jesus Christ and who he is, has the ability to greatly help us understand the existence of God. 1 John 4:10, Genesis 1:27-28

3. Do you think sex before marriage is wrong?  Plus have you? 
  • It's wrong because commitment should come before intimacy.  Why give yourself to someone who hasn't made strong promises to be faithful to you?  People get hurt that way.  God knows what's best for us.  The best sex is in marriage!  I'm glad I waited!!  Genesis 2:24. 
  • I'm not married but I have had sex. I think 'hit it and quit it' culture is damaging and you can build long term mental health issues from having someone reject you when you're at your most vulnerable, therefore having the security of marriage is the most healthy way to sustain a sexual relationship. 
  • Yes I think it is wrong, I think it’s best to wait as I did for my husband. Genesis 2:24-25 show that from the very beginning, God’s design for sex has been between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. Waiting till marriage means saving it for the one you are going to be united/joined with for life. ‘The joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment.’
  • Before knowing Jesus I did not understand the true value of sex within a marriage. Marriage is the representation of God's commitment and loyalty to his people. It is an example of unity and a bond that should not be broken. It is a life-long promise to honour, respect, and love the person in front of you. And sex is a powerful act that was created to bind a person physically and spiritually to another. It's an act of love that God created. It isn't a light hearted moment created to share with several people, as there is something very powerful that happens during that moment. God created chemicals within us that are released in that moment, which biologically attach us to that person. And every time it happens with another person we are damaging what God intended to be in the context of a loving and committed relationship. It's for our benefit, not to stop us enjoying our lives, and used in the wrong way it can be very painful and damaging to a person. Ephesians 5:22-32

4. If you were alive in Jesus' time, what would you do to help Jesus through HIS hard times? 
  • I love this!  God isn't immune from suffering.  He's suffered the worst of all on the cross!  Our mess became his mess when he became one of us and suffered and died on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Would I have helped him?  I really don't know.  But I'm so grateful. 
  • Jesus seemed to really value loyalty to him and his loved ones, so if I was alive in Jesus' time I think I'd try to be as loyal as I could to him, his father, his family and his friends. 
  • Pray with him when he most needed it (Matthew 26:36-44).

5. Will Jesus have a relationship with EVERYONE no matter what? 
  • Everyone who comes to him for forgiveness - yes.  Jesus died to save people from sin but not everyone wants saving.  Some people are trying to fix themselves without God's help.  God doesn't force anyone.  Christianity is an invitation.  1 John 1:9, 2 Corinthians 5:20, John 1:12. 
  • Yes. Most people who wrote the Bible did far worse stuff that we could ever do in one lifetime, and they were some of Jesus' closest friends. 
  • It’s not Jesus that makes the decision it’s us. He extends his hand of friendship to everyone but we need to take it. Our own pride and sinfulness get in the way. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we could be in relationship with him. It’s not something we earn – It’s by grace (Romans 3:22-24).

6. Where does Andy get his clothes? 
  • Andy buys anything that is cheap and black, because he has no self control when it comes to over-eating and black is slimming.

7. What does 'ALPHA' mean or stand for? 
  • It's the first letter of the Greek alphabet.  The New Testament part of the Bible was originally written in Greek.  The Alpha course is for people wanting to explore or get started with the Christian faith.  Check out Alpha. 
  • The beginning. 
  • Revelation 1:8, Revelation 21:5-6 – The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Alpha this way: ‘Something that is first. Other words for Alpha include beginning, creation, and origination.’

8. How close are you to God and why? 
  • Closer day-by-day because that's what he promises (2 Corinthians 3:18) and because that's my experience too.  He loves me and is helping me know him more. 
  • The longer I know God the closer I am to him because the more of life we have shared together and been through together. 
  • I can always be closer to God but reading my Bible and worshipping are personally the main ways I can get closer to God.

9. If God is good and loving, why does he allow suffering? / Why does God not stop suffering or natural disasters and just let them happen? / Why does God let diseases (e.g. cancer) spread and kill innocent people? / Why is there poverty? / Why did you create cancer? / Why do you let children suffer? / Why do bad things happen to good people? / Why does God let us feel so much pain? / Why does God kill his people (people dying in Africa)? / Why does God put all the bad things in the world like sadness, anger, hate, and death? 
  • This is a big one.  People suffer because there's something wrong with the world and with each of us.  The world is broken.  We are broken.  God didn't break anything.  People did.  The question is: Will we face suffering with or without God?  Revelation 21:1-4, Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:18, 1 Peter 5:10.  Check out this blog.
  • I've had terrible things happen in my life and I have no idea why God let it happen, I choose to trust that his plan for humanity and for my life, is better than the one I would choose to play out if I was God. 
  • God doesn’t cause suffering. He has the power to stop it but he allows it to happen. God has given us free will and all the problems we see in the world today are caused by humanity’s sinfulness. Sometimes bad situations are an opportunity to put our focus on God and rely on him for strength.

10. How old were you when you decided that you would follow Jesus? 
  • I was 5.  I prayed a prayer with my mum for Jesus to come into my heart.  And he really did! 
  • 17, at a youth music festival called Newday. 
  • Even though I grew up in a Christian family I only committed my life to Jesus when I went to ‘Soul Survivor’ (Christian Camp) and then I got baptised when I was 18.
  • I was 20 when I first truly understood that Jesus is the son of God, and died for my sins, rose again, and conquered death, so that I could have an everlasting relationship with God. Firstly here on this Earth and then forever in eternity. I didn't know until that point that I had been created for a purpose and for relationship with God who loves me and made me the person I am. John 3:16

11. Why is love a good thing as sometimes people get angry in love and sometimes break up? 
  • The Bible says that we know what love is by what Jesus did for us on the cross (1John 3:16).  Love is more than feelings.  Love includes determined commitment, quality choices, and selfless sacrifice.  To learn to love one another we need help from the God who is love (1 John 4:8). 
  • Every good thing in life can be twisted into something bad; money can be used for good or for bad, school can be good and bad, food can be good but if Ryan is cooking it can also be bad. The same with love. Love can bring security, intimacy, a feeling of being truly known, but if twisted it can also bring jealousy, manipulation, and abuse. Don't miss out on something great because you're scared of the 'what ifs'. 
  • Love is a great thing! It’s a choice often to put someone else first, that sometimes means getting angry. For example, seeing people suffer and wanting to stand up for them. Good, loving relationships are always worth fighting for but require hard work and sacrifice.
  • Sadly, humans are deeply broken people with a sin nature, which means we get things wrong a lot! We can struggle to do relationships well and we have a great ability to hurt one another, even when we love people. The only person who is perfect is Jesus Christ and only he can truly love as God intended love to be. There is a beautiful passage about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which talks about love and is a very positive example of what it could or should look like. We so often get love wrong and love can be very badly displayed in our lives even through the people we care about the most. That is why we can only truly depend on the love of God because his love alone is perfect. Other people physically can't give us everything we need, only God can do that. And only he can restore the hurt we may have experienced through another person's actions. Psalm 23:3, 1 John 4:18

12. Who goes to hell? 
  • Only those who persistently refuse and resist God's repeated offers of forgiveness and love through Jesus.  No-one deserves to live with God forever in a perfect world.  It's a gift to be received by faith in Jesus.  But everyone deserves to be separated from God and that's what hell is. John 14:6, 2 Peter 3:9, Romans 3:22-24. 
  • The devil and his demons. 
  • Rather than thinking of hell as a place, think of it as being out of relationship with God. Those who reject God, choose to have a life without him. Eternity spent in the absence of God, Author of all things that are good - is hell. Acts 4:12.

13. Who is Jesus? 

14. How do we know the Bible is true? 
  • It claims to be (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  It seems to be (you need to read it to experience it - try starting with John's gospel).  It proves to be - try applying the promises of God in the Bible and see if he keeps them!  Check out Bible Gateway, Topical Bible and 365 Promises. 
  • Many people who are much smarter than I am have explained to me why they think its true and they've convinced me. 
  • The Bible is the true and living word of God. God used the Bible’s authors to convey his message, guiding them through visions, dreams and their own experiences. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” Archaeological discoveries have confirmed many events of the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 – The Bible is alive in the life of a believer.

15. How do I know that God is living in me if I am a Christian (which I am)? 
  • Because we can trust the promises of God and he says anyone who turns from sin and trusts in Jesus will have God himself come and live in them by his Spirit.  Revelation 3:20, Romans 8:9, Luke 11:13. 
  • Take him at his word. In the Bible, God says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, I will live in you” (Romans 10:9). That is a promise. He's not trying to trick you by saying ‘oh you didn't say or do the right thing so I'm not going to live in you’.  No.  If you truly believe then he is yours and you are his. 
  • As the Spirit, God is available to everyone and will enter anyone who believes into him. When we pray to receive the Lord Jesus, God lives within us by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). John 14:23-27 – We know we have the Holy Spirit because (1) we will obey him (v23), (2) learn and be reminded of scripture (v26), (3) have peace (v27), and (4) have courage.

16. How do Christians know if it's really God working in our lives if we cannot see him? 
  • Sometimes because there's no other possible explanation for what happens!  Other times it's because we know every truly good thing is a gift from God (James 1:17), or because the result is that we and those around us grow to know and love Jesus more (John 16:14).  Also because he promises to be at work in our lives if we know and love him (Romans 8:28). 
  • The definition of a miracle is 'an event that is not explainable by natural causes alone'. The only time I see God working in my life is when something happens that I cannot explain without God being real and being involved in my life. For example, if someone hurts their knee and overnight it gets better, maybe that was God, or maybe it was just the effects of the pain killers. But if someone's amputated leg completely grows back, that ain’t no painkillers, that’s a miracle.
  • It is a super-natural process. God works on us from within. Galatians 5:16-18 – our natural inclination is to do something that is against God. We can only obey him because his power, the Holy Spirit, is at work within us. John 1:18 – Jesus came and lived on the Earth, people saw him. Romans 10:17 – We hear God through his word the Bible.