Marijuana, Caffeine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Battling Selfishness (Ask Pastor John)

Marijuana, Caffeine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Battling Selfishness (Ask Pastor John)

These were four themes featured in this week’s lineup of Ask Pastor John podcast episodes. What follows are excerpts from each episode (click on the hyperlinked titles to listen).

When Jehovah’s Witnesses Knock at Your Door (Episode 78):

If they come to the door, I say as gently and graciously as I can, “I know Jehovah’s Witness theology well enough to know that we have deep differences. I know that you believe Jesus is the highest created being, a created angel (Michael), and you do not believe that he is God, or of one essence with Jehovah. You think he is an angel, I believe he is co-eternal with Jehovah God, and therefore I think your religion is a serious dishonoring of the Lord Jesus and leads people astray from a true relationship with God. And so what I would like to do with you right now,” — I’m saying this right here on the porch — “is pray. And I am willing to let you pray, and I will pray, and we will both ask God to show us what is true in his Word, the true way to understand the Bible, and the true way to honor Jesus. Would you want to pray with me?” They have never said yes.

Christians and Marijuana (Episode 77):

Marijuana is ordinarily thought of, and I think ordinarily used, as a mood-altering or mind-altering drug that creates a pleasant euphoria. It is not generally thought of as making one more attentive to reality, but more oblivious of reality. And in that sense, if you try to compare it with caffeine, I can imagine somebody saying, “Well, what’s wrong? They are both mood-altering drugs. You drink your coffee in the morning to alter your mood, and I do my marijuana to alter my mood and so do the same.” Well, not exactly, because one of the effects of coffee is that it makes you more alert to reality — and if it didn’t, I think we should run away from it. In fact, I think it is possible to sin with caffeine. But there is a really significant difference.

The Power to Conquer Selfishness (Episode 76):

Serving is the measure of greatness (Matthew 20:26) because it takes greater power to conquer selfishness than to command service. ... So when Jesus is calling us to be servants, contrary to the world’s way of thinking about power, he means he is going to sever that horrible love of demanding selfish entitlement, and he is going to be our portion, and he is going to give us strength so that when we act against those natural inclinations by faith in him, he gets the glory, not us.

Reflections on His Last Sermon as Pastor (Episode 75):

I have chosen my text from Hebrews 13:20–21 and I do have an idea where I wanted to go. I chose that text because it is Easter and it begins, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep.” So I chose it, first, because God brought again from the dead our great shepherd. But I chose it also because I am a shepherd and I am leaving my flock. And I want to say to them, “You have a great shepherd. Jason Meyer and John Piper are both going to be dead someday. And you cannot put your final hope in any man. But you have a great shepherd.”

How are Teachers Judged More Strictly? (Episode 74):

Paul says, “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:12–15). So the picture there is: Teachers can build with wood, hay and stubble. Teachers can build with silver, gold, and precious stone. And the one will be burned up and the other will be preserved for his reward. And the more you know, the more you will be held accountable. And the more you blow it, given that knowledge, the more you will [potentially] suffer loss.

Also note that beginning with episode 76, we transitioned to a new recording setup to improve sound quality. We plan to stick with this new format.

Tuning In

The Ask Pastor John daily podcast is a series of 3–8 minute conversations released on weekdays at 11am (EST) via the DG Facebook and Twitter feeds. You can tune in to the new episodes through the new Ask Pastor John iPhone app, which can be donwloaded for free here. We’re currently hosting all the recordings on SoundCloud, a website that makes it easy to listen to several of the podcasts in one sitting. They’re also archived on the DG website and syndicated in iTunes.

We want to hear from you. To submit a question to Pastor John please include your first name, hometown, and question in an email to AskPastorJohn AT desiringGod DOT org.

Thanks for listening to the podcasts. We appreciate your engagement and interest.

Tony Reinke is a content strategist and staff writer for Desiring God and the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011) and John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015). He hosts the Ask Pastor John and Authors on the Line podcasts, and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and their three children. He also blogs at tonyreinke.com.