Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

  1. 3 Comments

    Dear Birthmother of My Daughter

    Posted on August 13th, 2015 by Jonathan


    Dear Birthmother of My Daughter,

    In this instance, the word dear is not throwaway. I use it very intentionally. For without you, one of the dearest people in my life would not be in my life at all. In fact, without you, my daughter would not have life at all. Thank you for choosing life.

    I don’t know you or the circumstances of your pregnancy, but your decision not to abort was a heroic answer to prayer. Childbirth certainly isn’t easy. Neither are the social inconveniencies of an unexpected pregnancy or the judging eyes of others. Yet you endured all this, and in so doing, you grew our family. In choosing life, you’ve made it clear how tragic a choice abortion would have been: the death of our daughter.

    Maybe you hadn’t planned on getting pregnant, but your pregnancy was not unplanned. God was acting in accordance with the marvelous plans he had already made. Whatever factors led you to protect the life of the baby you carried, whatever motives were at play, be encouraged. God used you.

    Like you, my wife and I also had other plans. We set out to adopt internationally. Convinced of the need for some more “us time” and financially unprepared for a child, we were in no hurry to shorten the three-year process. At the end of it all, we would bring home a little boy from Ethiopia.

    We’re now smack in the middle of that three-year journey… and it’s no longer just my wife and me waiting for a son. Our daughter is now also waiting for her brother.

    Our expectations were upended. Instead of three years, we had three months. Instead of an Ethiopian, we had an Alabamian. Instead of a toddling boy, we had a crawling girl. It was, all of it, unplanned.

    And it was all of grace.

    If you’ve failed to see that grace, the life-giving grace of a God who is sovereign over both good and ill, I pray that the Lord will show it to you. I pray that the Lord will continue to use your beautiful life to impact other beautiful lives as you have ours and hers. And if you haven’t already, when you’re faced with the choice of abundant life in Christ or eternal death with the world, I pray you will, again, choose life.

    We named our daughter Eden after the garden where life began. Our prayer for her – and for you – is that God would, through His Son, take her from the desert wilderness of this world and bring her into the eternal Eden of His presence. May she one day walk in perfect communion with her heavenly Father, alongside you and me, her brother and sister.

    Together, we are part of a beautiful story, one that’s much bigger than a unplanned pregnancy and an unexpected adoption. We’re part of a gospel story in which God makes the broken whole, the bad good, the orphan a son and daughter, the dead alive. The desert Eden.

    With love and gratitude,

    An Adoptive Father on Earth
    An Adopted Son of Heaven

    For the LORD comforts Zion;
    he comforts all her waste places
    and makes her wilderness like Eden,
    her desert like the garden of the LORD;
    joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the voice of song. (Isaiah 51:3)

  2. 1 Comment

    College: “The Greatest Mission Field in the World”

    Posted on August 12th, 2015 by Lee Sullens


    As a ten-year veteran of college ministry, there are two main assertions that have formed the basis of my ministry philosophy and have driven my methodology:

    1. The university campus is the greatest mission field in the world
    2. Your four years in college are the most formative and strategic years of your life.

    Both assertions provide a jumping off point for me as I make disciples within this demographic. Over the years I have seen hundreds of students come to the realization that they are living among people they would have never chosen to live among. They are studying with people who look and think much differently than themselves. They are joining organizations and playing sports with people from different cultures, religions, and worldviews. One of my greatest joys is when students recognize the incredible opportunity at hand and begin to strategically live their lives to impact those around them.

    A Microcosm of the World

    I believe the university campus is a microcosm of the world. Within the proverbial “4 walls” of a campus are dozens, if not hundreds, of affinity groups, people with varying interests, backgrounds, and philosophies. These are students from all over the world, many of whom will return to their home countries upon graduation to take their seats as people of great influence. The nations have literally come to us. The starting point for global influence is vastly simplified for a student viewing life through these missional lenses. It simply shifts from an 18 hour plane trip to a roommate, a classmate, a teammate. The university campus provides a natural environment to live life among those who have not yet tasted the sweetness of the Gospel.

    Within this diverse landscape lies the microcosmic slice of humanity’s fundamental need. We need to be fixed. It’s not hard to see that the world, the culture, and the campus is broken. The disagreement rests in the solution to this obvious brokenness. There are those who purport that social reform, higher fitness levels, and more education will provide the solutions but that is simply not the case. The harsh reality is that we are all dead and we need someone to make us alive again. Only the Gospel will transform our campus, our culture, and our world. To enter college is to step onto the greatest mission field in the world.

    Four Years of Purpose

    When this reality is embraced, a paradigm shift occurs. I refer to this shift as four years of purpose. Students begin to see that their purpose in college is not primarily to obtain a piece of paper that will facilitate their pursuit of the American dream. Rather, they understand that a Sovereign King has strategically placed them where they are primarily to impact people for His name’s sake. A college degree and career prospects are just icing on the cake. He cares deeply about those things and wants us to strive for excellence in those areas, but he has a much greater purpose for college students. That purpose is a little thing I like to call global impact. Throughout history God has used young people, full of zeal and passion, to impact the world. Every 18 year old who enters college, no matter the location, has the same potential. I often tell my students everyone is going somewhere, let’s go somewhere on purpose. Let’s see our four years not only as formative but strategic. There’s a reason one lands in a particular city, on a particular campus, rooms with a particular roommate, and chooses a particular major. God wants every believer to live on purpose and invest their lives in other people. Typically every student has four years in this incredible microcosm. Four years of purpose, four years to make disciples who will turn the world upside down.

    I see the university campus as a river that leads to a greater body of water. As college ministers and missional college students we have the opportunity to inject the river with a sort of theological antivenin, the Gospel, that will not only heal the river but will travel the currents to a greater body of water and infuse it with glorious transformation. In a phrase, “change the campus, change the world.”

    Lee Sullens serves as the college minister at The Church at Brook Hills. Previous to that, he spent seven years doing discipleship-based college ministry on campus at UNC Chapel Hill. 

  3. 2 Comments

    Equipped for Life: Tools to Fight Abortion

    Posted on August 7th, 2015 by Radical


    The recent videos exposing the horrors of abortion and of Planned Parenthood’s selling of the body parts of aborted children has reignited the conversation around this critical issue. As a result, many Christians have found themselves debating the issue with family, friends, and co-workers. In order to help you articulate a biblical position on abortion, and to point you to helpful resources for addressing this issue, we’ve put together a number of links below.


    • From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions occurred in the U.S.
    • Half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and 4 in 10 of these are terminated by abortion
    • 21% of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) in America end in abortion [1]



    Blog Posts

    In-Depth Articles


    Radical Audio Resources

    Pro-Life Ministries

    — [1] Statistics available on the Abort73 website and taken from the Gutthmacher Institute.

  4. International Refugee Crisis Hits All Time High

    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 by Jonathan

    As you watch the video above, released on June 18 from the UNHRC, think of the individuals that these staggering numbers represent. A child who is lonely, helpless, and scared. A young woman who is continually plagued by flashbacks to the horrific violence she endured. A father who doesn’t know where his family is. An elderly woman who is now facing the prospect of spending her final years in a crowded tent away from home. Each of these 59.5 million forcibly displaced people has a unique and heartbreaking story.

    Enter the gospel. God sent his Son in the flesh to proclaim liberty to the oppressed, sight to the blind, and good news to the poor. Not of this world and hated by it, he endured suffering beyond what we can imagine, taking God’s just wrath on behalf of all who believe in him. One day he will return to fully redeem all who have trusted in him for righteousness. On that day, he will give evil people the judgement they are due while he personally wipes away every tear from the eyes of his saints.

    This is the good news that refugees so desperately need. But unfortunately, the likelihood that they know it is low. Half of them come from the countries of Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia, where only 5.9%, 0.1%, and 0.3% of their respective populations profess to be Christians. Indeed, despite their dire physical circumstances, the eternal plight of these people is much worse.

    Here is their glimmer of hope: many of these refugees no longer live in Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Outside the borders of their war-torn and/or closed countries, the opportunity we have to reach them is greater than it’s ever been. That is to say, we are their glimmer of hope. May we pray faithfully, give generously, and go accordingly.

  5. How El Chapo Might Remind You to Pray for Mexico

    Posted on July 30th, 2015 by David Burnette


    Joaquín Guzmán, the billionaire head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, escaped from a maximum security prison on July 11th of this year, slipping out through a mile-long tunnel outfitted with ventilation, electricity, and a motorcycle on rails.

    You may have seen the headlines about “El Chapo,” as Guzmán is known. His second prison escape highlights not only a weak justice system in Mexico, but also the level of corruption that exists in certain parts of Mexico due to influential drug lords [1]. So, in addition to a general desire for justice, why should Christians care about El Chapo and other Mexican criminals?

    A Surprising Ranking

    Surprisingly, Mexico was ranked fifth on the list of most violent countries for Christians in 2014. This ranking was based on a seventeen-month survey of “persecution incidents” by Open Doors, and the anti-Christian violence can be attributed in part to the criminal organizations and drug cartels that have targeted Christians and churches. These churches are seen as revenue centers, and are therefore targets for extortion. Churches are also targeted, according to Open Doors, because they offer rehab and support services to drug users [2].

    The violence in Mexico appears to be much greater in the southern states, where the traditional laws make it difficult for Christian converts. Those who do not accept the practices of the local community are ostracized and sometimes persecuted. Open Doors’ annual World Watch List, which ranks countries in terms of their persecution of Christians, has Mexico at #38 in 2015. This ranking is based on different types of persecution, including discrimination from the government, social pressure, or outright physical violence.

    Closer Than You Think

    The persecution of Christians in Mexico is a reminder that intense pressure and physical hostility aren’t just problems over there, far across the ocean on another continent. It happens right in our backyard, in the same country where many Americans choose to vacation. Of course, not every area of Mexico is hostile to followers of Christ, and we shouldn’t mistake the influence of organized crime as the attitude of most Mexicans toward Christians. After all, over 90% of Mexicans self-identify as Roman Catholic. Still, these realities remind us that opposition to Christ comes in many shapes and sizes, and that following him can be costly in many places around the world, even right next door.

    Praying for Mexico

    As you pray for persecuted believers around the world and for the spread of the gospel, here are some specifics on Mexico:

    • Pray for believers to endure and bear witness to Christ in the face of pressure and persecution.
    • Pray for the gospel to be proclaimed clearly. The overwhelming majority of Mexicans self-identify as Catholic (around 90%), while only around 8% identify as evangelicals out of a population of over 122 million people.
    • Pray for the 32 unreached people groups consisting of over 1.4 million people.
    • Pray for the 8 unreached people groups that are still unengaged, i.e., there is no church-planting strategy underway to reach them. This accounts for over 156,000 people.
    • Pray for the reduction of organized crime and for criminals to be brought to justice.

    — The information above is taken from, Joshua Project, and Open Doors.

    [1] USA Today article on El Chapo

    [2] Open Doors on Mexico

  6. That They Might Feel Their Way Toward Him

    Posted on July 28th, 2015 by Jonathan

    Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 3.58.18 PM

    You may have heard about the suicide bombing that killed 31 people in Turkey last week (Yahoo News). Those attacked were part of an activist group that had gathered to prepare an aid mission to the Syrian city of Kobane, just across the border from where they were in Suruc. The group’s aim was to help rebuild Kobane, war-torn after multiple advances from ISIS. Indicators suggest that the man who carried out the deadly attack had links to ISIS.

    Such tragedies merit the attention of the Christian community as we seek to love our neighbors well. But the closing few lines of the Yahoo News article cited above, easy to gloss over, deserve our attention as well:

    Suruc, once a centre of silk-making, is home to one of the biggest refugee camps in Turkey housing Syrians who have fled their country’s bloody four-year conflict.

    The camp shelters about 35,000 refugees out of a total of more than 1.8 million refugees taken in by Turkey since 2011.

    A steady exodus of refugees fleeing a four-year long civil war doesn’t naturally lend itself to headlines, but such numbers are alarming. We’ve talked before about the Syrian refugee crises, but let’s focus in on Turkey for a moment.

    In large part due to the Syrian war, Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country in the world, the population still rising. There are over one million Syrians now in Turkey, and, as we’ve discussed, there are 18 unreached people groups in Syria. But this is a case of need on top of need, because, percentage-wise, Turkey is the least reached country in the world.

    The weight of need in Turkey grows with each new refugee that’s registered there. Meanwhile, ISIS continues its advance along the Turkish border. Might it be that God is at work in the hearts of people there, using their sense of physical peril to open their eyes to the imperiled state of their eternal soul? In Acts 17, Paul says of the nations that God has “determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him” (vv. 16-27). God is sovereignly orchestrating the migration of people groups that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Many of them are now in Turkey; who there will tell them what they’re looking for?

    As Syrian refugees in Turkey lose their homes and their sense of safety, who will tell them of the divine comforter? As Turkish nationals anxiously peer into Syria, the rumblings the terror now at their doorstep, who will tell them about the reigning Prince of Peace? As ISIS militants visit the Turkish border, will they see anyone bearing witness to the God who is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26)?

    At the bottom of it all, the question is this: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom 10:14)

  7. The Child Yet Unborn: New Radical Together Podcast

    Posted on July 28th, 2015 by David Burnette


    You’ve probably seen the recent videos exposing the sale of body parts of aborted babies by Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider. These undercover videos put out by The Center for Medical Progress offer a disturbing, yet vivid reminder of the evil of abortion.

    Because the two major political parties in the U.S. are typically on different sides of the abortion issue, it’s all too easy to forget that abortion is not primarily a political issue. In fact, it’s not fundamentally a women’s or children’s issue. In the latest Radical Together podcast episode, “The Child Yet Unborn,” David Platt argues from Scripture that abortion is first and foremost a God issue. He points to Psalm 139:13-16 to make this very point,

    For you formed my inward parts;
    knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

    My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in
    the depths of the earth.
    Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your
    book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

    Regardless of what our society calls the unborn–a fetus, a clump of cells, or merely tissue–it is God’s view that matters, and his intimate relationship with the unborn is clear from Scripture. Believers must, therefore, speak and work for truth and justice on this issue.

    This week’s podcast is the first of two episodes dealing with the topic of abortion. Be sure also to check out our Counter Culture ministry partners to see how you can engage this issue–to speak with courage for the unborn and to reach out with compassion to those who feel as if abortion is their only option.

  8. 1 Comment

    The Syrian Refugee Crisis

    Posted on July 13th, 2015 by Jonathan


    According to the 2015 World Watch List, Syria is the fourth most hostile country in the world for Christians living there, in large part because of the growing presence and control of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Christians are among those most marginalized and endangered, but between the Islamic State’s harsh implementation of sharia law and the ongoing violence of civil war, they aren’t the only only ones suffering. This is evidenced by the astounding number of Syrians forced to flee from their homes.

    Some 6.5 million Syrians have been internally displaced, while around 4 million have been displaced to surrounding countries, and some still beyond. Numbers like these are so big that they can actually be ineffective. Rather than helping us feel the tragic weight of human suffering, we’re left to grapple with an intangible statistic. In reality, these numbers represent individual people. Most are lost, and many are unreached – without access to the gospel.

    Of the over 20 million people in Syria (the vast majority of whom are Muslim), nearly 7.5 million are unreached. These unreached people span across 18 distinct people groups, people groups who may now be found in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Europe.

    All of this has a few huge implications for missions:

    1. Those hardest to reach with the good news remain in Syria. With the Islamic State taking over, people who remain are either silently hurting at their hands or complicit. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15), so to sinners we must go.
    2. Whether in Syria or abroad, Christians are being persecuted. The Islamic State violently opposes all who don’t agree with their religious convictions, especially Christians. Believers still in Syria are likely to be on the run, anxiously hiding, or suffering abuse. Believers who have fled Syria are often homeless, unemployed, lacking basic needs, separated from family, and still religiously restricted… unfortunately, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan (the top destinations of Syrian exiles) are all also on the World Watch List. As fellow members of the body of Christ, we suffer when they do. Our love for them is evidence of our love for God and a testimony to the gospel for a watching world (1 Jn 4:7, Jn 13:35).
    3. Those displaced are uniquely situated to hear the gospel. For displaced unbelievers, not only are they more accessible than they would have been in Syria, but they’re also potentially more receptive to the message of Christ. They may be disenchanted with Islam (Daniel Abraham explained this clearly today on Tim Challies’ blog), they might be thinking more about eternity, and their awareness of their need for a Savior may be heightened.

    As is often the case, the church hurts worst in the world’s darkest spots. As we look to Syria and see our believing brothers and sisters suffering and fleeing, let’s not be guilty of indifference. Let’s pray for them, support them, and advocate on their behalf, knowing that helping the Syrian church continue to shine brightly is one of the greatest services we can do for the dark world around it. Syrians today need the light of Jesus more than ever. So let’s also bring the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation to those who presently oppose God.

    The people of Syria are in dire need. May we rise to the occasion.

  9. An Attribute Worth Trembling Over

    Posted on July 10th, 2015 by David Burnette


    If you primarily think of God as your buddy, or if you view the Christian life in largely sentimental terms, then the attribute of God we’re highlighting this week might kill the mood. I’m talking about God’s wrath. Like holiness and mercy, attributes that we’ve already looked at, wrath is another integral part of God’s character.

    To the surprise of some Christians, God’s wrath is not an obscure topic tucked away in some neglected book of the Minor Prophets. It’s actually a very prominent theme throughout God’s Word. Admittedly, thinking about God’s wrath is usually more sobering than it is encouraging. However, if we want to grow in our knowledge of God, and given that he chose to reveal so much about his judgment in the pages of Scripture, then this is a topic that every Christian should be familiar with.

    Anything but Arbitrary

    Since the idea of God’s wrath is often misunderstood, it’s important that we know what it does not mean. For some, God’s wrath conjures up notions of an unhappy deity who arbitrarily flies off the handle. This kind of god specializes in punishing people for minor infractions. Thankfully, this is a far cry from the God of the Bible, whose judgment is anything but arbitrary.

    God has warned us: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Only his mercy, his patience, and his overarching purposes prevent him from punishing all sin immediately. God’s wrath is his righteous response to our sin, and every transgression will be punished. Rebellion against an infinitely holy God is deserving of infinite punishment. Adam and Eve found out the terrible consequences of sin after one transgression (Genesis 3). Just as we expect earthly judges to punish criminals, so God’s wrath is his righteous response to sin. Anything less would be unjust.

    Old and New

    Another misconception when it comes to God’s wrath has to do with the idea that this is a truth confined to the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament was angry and vindictive, it is said, but then, thankfully, Jesus came along and showed us a more loving way. It’s as if God got in a better mood just prior to Christ’s birth. There are a number of problems with this distorted portrait.

    First, God is perfect and he never changes. It is therefore impossible for him to improve or to become more loving and gracious. Second, because God is a Trinity, we know that the Son of God was directly involved in everything that happened in the Old Testament. Jesus is not the more lenient version of the God of Israel. Third, the New Testament itself is filled with references to the judgment that awaits those who continue in their rebellion against God. To take one example, Paul comforts the Thessalonians by telling them that those who afflict them will not go unpunished:

    They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

    And remember, most of what we know of hell in the New Testament comes from the words of Jesus, whose descriptions are disturbingly vivid. He speaks of hell as the place where “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). It’s clear that the concept of God’s wrath and just judgment was important to Jesus and the New Testament writers.

    Sobering and Strengthening

    Needless to say, we cannot talk of God’s wrath lightly. The judgment that awaits those who are outside of Christ should sober us, particularly when we remember that it’s the same judgment we deserve. It is only by God’s grace in Christ that we are assured of “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). These realities should lead to a life of overflowing gratitude, and they should compel us to share the good news that sinners can escape God’s wrath by hiding in the wrath-absorbing cross of Christ.

    To unbelievers, God’s wrath will continue to seem harsh and outdated. But that doesn’t mean we should feel the need to apologize for it; this is, after all, one of God’s perfections. Instead, it should cause us to tremble, adding weight to our worship and urgency to our mission. The fearful prospect of God’s wrath also reminds us not to toy with sin or depart from Christ. Finally, the certainty of God’s wrath ensures that we don’t have to avenge ourselves, for God will one day punish all forms of evil fairly and decisively. This is why the saints will be able to rejoice at the destruction of God’s enemies:

    Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her! (Revelation 18:20)

    The wrath of God gives the people of God confidence as they face opposition and persecution. Even this awe-inspiring attribute works for the good of those who belong to Christ. This is just one more reason to rejoice in the One whose wrath is dreadful, but who is at the same time our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    — For more on God’s attributes, see Secret Church 4, “Who is God?

  10. What Ever Happened to Mercy?

    Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by David Burnette


    As you think about the circles you run in as a Christian, what attributes of God seem to be ignored or downplayed today?

    My guess is that God’s wrath, his holiness, or his righteousness come to mind. All those are probably true, and they are evidence of the low view of God that seems so common, even among professing Christians. This is why we highlighted God’s holiness last week. However, has it dawned on you that by downplaying God’s holy character we inevitably undermine his mercy?

    If I assume that God approves of whatever I’m doing, then what need is there for mercy? After all, mercy assumes that some punishment is deserved, that judgment is withheld. We may ask God to bless us, help us, or guide us–all of which we should pray for–but it’s much less common to hear the words of the tax collector in Luke 18:13, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” To downplay God’s mercy is to miss a fundamental aspect of who he is. And as the psalmist reminds us, God’s mercy is “over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9).

    At the Core

    When God revealed himself to Moses on Mount Sinai, he began by proclaiming himself to be “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious . . .” (Exodus 34:6). There was more to this revelation, but we cannot miss the fact that mercy gets at the core of who God is. He is the God who condescends to redeem his people and to make a covenant with them. Without such mercy, a holy God could never join himself to us in love; judgment would be the only option. To know God, then, is to know him as merciful.

    Our only Hope

    In order to make God’s mercy more concrete, consider your own conversion. You were dead in sin, and the only reason that wasn’t the end of the story is because of God’s “great love,” and because he is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). Or as Peter says, you have been born again according to God’s “great mercy” (1 Peter 1:3). Instead of judging you, Christian, God chose to lay the punishment on his only Son. By the power of the Spirit, God’s mercy brought you into the Christian life. But, thankfully, that’s not where mercy ends.

    A Daily Need

    God’s mercies are “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23). They greet us like the sunrise, assuring us that today’s sins will be no match for God’s forgiveness. Whether our sin is as glaring as King David’s with Bathseeba, and we have to cry out, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1), or whether it’s just the daily defilement of selfish thoughts, twisted desires, and ten thousand other sins, we need mercy. And, by God’s grace, it is available to those who are in Christ.

    So as you think on God and what he is like, don’t forget that he is holy, righteous, and just. These are foundational attributes. But, if you belong to Christ, these foundational attributes should remind you of your need for another foundational attribute of God–his mercy. Without it, we have no hope.

    — For more on God’s attributes, see Secret Church 4, “Who is God?