Today’s Live Q&A is hosted by Pastor Chuck Musselwhite of The Village Chapel in Vandenberg, CA. He is also a board member for Enduring Word.

Is Jesus Enough?

A personal testimony from Pastor Chuck Musselwhite: The past month of my life has been pretty crazy. All summer, I worked on a project for our church. After about two and a half months of hard work, it basically fell apart in the past week. That was kind of devastating. The church had invested some money into it, and it concerned a new facility. I had to tell the church what happened. A couple days later, I got a phone call that our longtime bookkeeper, who was a good friend and had been an employee of the church for 10 years, had suddenly passed away. That evening, I had to go to the emergency room to get an ultrasound on a blood clot in my leg, since my leg was starting to swell. That was the first time I’ve ever been to the emergency room. We were there most of the night. Then, a couple days later, which also happened to be my 52nd birthday, my daughter gave me COVID-19 for my birthday.

That’s when things started to get interesting. I wasn’t in bad health, but I was just physically and emotionally exhausted from everything that had transpired over the summer. I came home from work that Monday and told my wife I wasn’t feeling well, but I ended up being in bed for the whole next week. On Thursday morning, I was lying in bed and had absolutely no energy. I was contemplating everything that had happened recently: the failure of the church project, the loss of longtime co-worker, and the blood clot in my leg. To give you a little background, my mom passed away from a blood clot to her heart twenty-five years ago, so it’s a serious health issue in our family.

In addition to all that, we know how Satan likes to take those situations and compound them. He was hitting me that morning, whispering, “Chuck, you’re a failure.” So, I was lying in bed, contemplating everything that was going on with my health, while Satan was attacking me about the failures I’ve been through.

But there was brief, clear moment when God spoke to me, something like, “I’ve taken away your professional success; you’re dealing with the loss of a good friend and co-worker; and I’ve taken away your health.” And Jesus simply asked me, “Am I enough? Am I enough?”

I’ll be honest with you, I sat there and thought about it for a second. I had never considered it before in that way. At that moment, I said, “You know what? Yes.”

And I felt Jesus answer me, saying, “I love you exactly the way you are right now.” And He affirmed His love to me amidst all these situations: my health situation, our recent loss, and even the failures. In that moment, I really experienced a new facet of my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I’ve been a pastor doing ministry full time for 27 years. A lot of my relationship with God has been doing stuff for Him or ministering to people. But I had never brought it down to the personal level, to ask myself, “If everything was stripped away, is He enough?”

At that moment I realized, No – it’s not just enough; He’s more than enough. God began to minister me then, to show me, “I love you. I love you despite your failures. I love you in your health situation. I love you exactly the way you are.”

Now, I would love to tell you that the clouds parted, the sun came out, and there was a rainbow in the sky at that moment. But that it didn’t happen. In fact, the next day, my temperature spiked to 107 degrees, and remained high all weekend. The following Monday, my oxygen dropped below safe levels. The following Thursday (a week from when God really spoke to me), I ended up in the hospital due to COVID-19. I was hospitalized for two and a half days, and they gave me medicine and oxygen.

Fortunately, I was able to leave in two and a half days, which was the shortest time that my hospital doctor had ever seen; the nurses told me that people were generally hospitalized for 14 to 21 days.

I went in with an absolute peace, even though I didn’t know if I was going to be in traction or on a ventilator. I didn’t know any of those answers. I only knew that being there was exactly what I was supposed to do, and I could just follow my doctor’s orders.

God really ministered to me and my wife through it all. When I got out, I knew I didn’t ever want to go through that again. But God will use situations like this to show you how real He is. I wanted to share that story with you all today. It’s a small testimony of what God has done in the last month of my life.

I did contract double pneumonia in my lungs, and I’m in a slow recovery process. I’m about two-thirds of the way back to normal. My doctor says that my lungs should clear up by the first of November. I still have my blood clot issue, and need to take strong blood thinners, which creates some need for caution.

There are still some challenges, but I can tell you this: God is more real than He’s ever been. He is on the throne, and He’s doing His thing and He’s still powerful. I just wanted to share that with you. Hopefully it will bless and encourage you throughout your day.

Is prayerlessness a sin?

Let’s compare this to the context of marriage; this is the best way I’ve heard it explained. Think about a couple who falls in love, decides to get married, the wedding is wonderful, and life is awesome. But suppose that the day after the wedding, the couple stops talking to each other, and neither spouse communicates to the other about what they’re doing, where they’re going, etc.

Let me ask you this question: How long do you think such a marriage would last? Not very long. In fact, I think one spouse or the other would be wondering, “What’s going on? What’s the problem here?”

Likewise, is prayerlessness a sin? I can’t point you to a verse which says so directly, but there are damaging effects of not praying. Remember, as Christians, as the church, we’re the Bride of Christ. Every bride wants to talk to the groom. We have the most open, most willing, and most ready groom that’s ever been known to man: Jesus. He’s ready to talk to us. I won’t go so far as to say that prayerlessness is a sin, but the ramifications of not praying will cause a far-reaching impact.

Are the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and the “Filling with the Holy Spirit” the same thing?

No. I take the Calvary Chapel line, and here is what I believe. Before you come to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes alongside you, convicts you of your sin, and shows you your need of Jesus Christ. Once you commit to follow Jesus Christ and have a personal relationship with Him, then I believe the Holy Spirit fills you; I believe that comes with salvation. Romans 5:5 says that the Holy Spirit fills us with the love of God. I like that, because it pictures an overflowing love, more love than we can contain.

There’s that filling of the Spirit when we receive Christ, but beyond that, I believe there is an extra thing mentioned multiple times in Scripture. In Acts 19, Paul asks the Ephesian believers whether they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They reply, “No, we received the baptism of John.” So Paul begins to pray for people, and they receive the Holy Spirit. Often, the sign of this baptism in the Spirit is speaking in tongues, but not always. So, I believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the final manifestation in a believer’s life. Baptism means to overwhelm or to overflow out of us, like an overflowing cup.

I believe that the Holy Spirit relates to people in three stages: first, before salvation He comes alongside you. Second, when you receive Jesus Christ, He fills you, bringing the guidance of God, the revealing of Scripture to make you understand it, and the conviction of sin. Third, there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which His power comes upon you.

What will happen to our bodies during the Rapture?

1 Thessalonians 4 says that we’re going to hear a trumpet and a shout, we’re going to look up to the clouds, and Jesus is going to come. Then it says that all followers of Jesus are going to be caught up in the air. 1 Corinthians 15 says that this will happen, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” and we will be transformed. We will no longer have what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians as ragged tents, but we will be transformed and have new bodies. There will be no more pain or disease, and our bodies will be perfect. So that’s what happens to our old bodies. I don’t have any clear theology on it, but I think they’re just going to disappear; that’s my own personal conjecture.

How do I know for sure if I have been sanctified and set apart from corruption?

I truly want to be God’s servant. And being set apart from corruption would be amazing. How can I know of a surety if I have been sanctified?

In the New Testament, believers are often referred to as saints. “Saints” comes from the word “sanctify,” which means to be set apart. I believe there is initial sanctification, which means that we are plucked out of the world, saved from our sin, redeemed, brought into relationship with Jesus Christ, and set apart unto the Lord. We are now part of Christ’s body, and part of His family. That’s the initial sanctification.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul wrote, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” That’s one of my favorite verses. As a new believer, I got more wrong than right, so I clung to that verse, because it’s God saying, simply, “I’m still working on you.” Even when other people had doubts, God would always remind me of that verse. Sanctification is always going to be a process. But the good news is that the sanctification is very little up to you. It’s mostly up to Christ, through the means of our submission to Him, allowing Him to do that work.

You have been set apart from corruption because you have Christ in you. Sin has been defeated, death has been defeated, and so on. Now you’re going through the process of being sanctified. That happens through some certain disciplines you can do, such as going to church, reading your Bible, praying, or even fasting. But it also goes on beyond that, as you learn to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit of where God’s trying to work in your life.

How do I balance a career and serving at a local church?

How to balance career and serving at a local church? It’s just taken a toll on me, as it’s too much. Should I just go with the flow with my career and not really give it a lot of importance?

Once we receive Jesus Christ, we are called to be part of the local church, and we’re called to use our gifts in the local church. A lot of people find that to be difficult, because their job, family, or other commitments might keep them from that. It sounds like you’re doing the best that you can.

I’m going to talk to you a little bit about seasons. I live right by a military base, so the people in our church are military families who are fully committed when they’re here. But in a moment’s notice, they can be deployed halfway across the world, or sent to a three-week class, or face many other challenges. As a church, we have to roll with it. If the family is a major facet of our ministry, we need to not only fill that hole, but also be ready for when they come back.

Similarly, there may be seasons in your life when your work demands a lot, and the church should be understanding of that. There will be other seasons when work isn’t as demanding, and the church has a great need of your services. As believers, we are called to glorify God in the workplace. With that comes the responsibility not allowing our work to turn into an idol, but neither should we be complacent about our work. When we’re at work, we need to do our best, and should try to be the best worker while we’re there. But often the best worker isn’t determined by how much time we spend, or how much extra work we take on; it’s just by doing our job extremely well. I’ve seen a lot of Christians overcommit themselves at work, to try to impress the boss or get a promotion or a raise. That ended up not being what God wanted for them at that time.

Pray for wisdom and discernment. Seek the counsel of either your pastor or another wise person at your church. At the same time, learn to see the seasons and go with them. Don’t feel guilty if God has you more committed in one place than another at a certain time. It will all balance out. God knows what He’s doing. Keep in step with Him as He does it.

Can Christians be demon-possessed?

I have a troubled friend who’s a new believer and is obsessed with demons. He believes that Christians can be demon-possessed. He is also into sign and wonders. How do I redirect him?

First, the major emphasis here is that he’s a new believer. You might need to give your friend some space and be patient with him. Being a new believer is like drinking out of a firehose. I’ve seen new believers get caught up in topics like the End Times or conspiracies about Scripture. They find one certain type of preacher who’s into things and next thing you know, their appetite is ravenous. But it’s just misdirected. We have to allow room for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.

Can Christians be demon-possessed? No. 1 John 4:4b says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Based on what I read in Scripture, it is impossible for a believer to be demon-possessed. Your friend will need to work through that.

The fact that he’s into signs and wonders is not surprising. When a person becomes a new believer, we tell them to read the Gospels, which are full of signs and wonders. To a person reading about these things for the first time, this is very exciting. Kids going to carnival or amusement park for the first time will be far more amazed than a person who works there or sees it every day. I used to work at a place called Magic Mountain, which at that time had some of the greatest roller coasters in the world. People would come from all over to ride those roller coasters. There would be 50-year-old men acting like kids in a candy shop.

A lot of times, Christians are that way with signs and wonders, so they pursue them. There are plenty of ministries concerned exclusively with signs and wonders, and they can really lead people astray. I’ve seen many waves of these things come and go throughout my 30 years in ministry.

For your friend, keep speaking wisdom and grace into his life, and allow God to work things out. Challenge your friend to be constantly reading their Bible, listening to teachers who teach the Bible, and trust God that they’ll eventually work through these phases.

Be there alongside your friend, but also let them know when you don’t necessarily agree with them. That’s okay. Walk alongside him as he works out his faith, through the different stages of growing from new believer to mature believer.

What is Progressive Christianity?

I’ve never heard of the term “Progressive Christianity” before I began reading this book. My husband warned me that the term progressive is thrown around politically lately, I have only read the first two chapters and I’m stumped. If Progressive Christianity is a thing, can you explain it to me in terms that I can understand?

Progressive Christianity is not a new thing. It began in the early 1900s. Many mainline denominations were influenced by certain German philosophers who were espousing what they call anti-supernaturalism. They basically said that anything supernatural in the Bible wasn’t real. So they avoided the supernatural, and made the Bible about a social gospel, emphasizing feeding the poor and teaching people to read, etc.

But they found that the Bible contradicted a lot of what they were doing. They had thought they could win people to Jesus by doing these things. This mainly effected the mainline denominations (such as Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Episcopalian). They rejected supernaturalism and embraced a social gospel. That’s why we’ve seen a lot of movements the new reformed movement, and other churches who are getting back to the Bible.

Currently, progressive Christians are also politically quite liberal. They pick and choose which Scriptures they believe, they support social causes such as abortion, and allow actively homosexual people to be ordained as pastors, and so on. Progressive churches push a lot of agendas.

Progressive Christianity is indeed a real thing, and it’s growing, especially among the younger generation who follow current social trends and media. I would love to know what book you’re reading.

Does Galatians 6:6 refer to financially supporting Bible teachers?

What is Galatians 6:6 talking about? Is it about financial support to teachers or something else?

Galatians 6:6 ESV – Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.

Yes, the meaning here is financial support of pastors. Paul mentions this concept in several books, especially 2 Timothy. Last Sunday, I was teaching on 2 Corinthians 11, where Paul says, “I didn’t take a dime from you, even when I was in need.” A lot of people interpret that to mean that pastors shouldn’t be paid. But that’s not what Paul was saying.

Corinth was a very wealthy city. I’m not sure if you have been around wealthy people. But it seems that the wealthier you get, the more issues you have with money. Paul didn’t want the Corinthians to suppose that he was taking advantage of them for their money, like other apostles may have been doing. For that reason, he never took a dime. At first, he was a tentmaker. And then the interesting thing, which may have been humiliating for Corinth, is that he accepted money from Macedonia, which was the poorest region. He took missionary support from the poorest churches to minister to the wealthiest church at that time.

But yes, Paul was getting support. Pastors do need to be paid a livable wage for the work that they do. Sadly, in a lot of churches, that is just not the case. When Paul says that the one who is taught the word must share in all good things with the one who teaches, he’s putting the responsibility upon the congregation members. The tithes and offerings they give are to support the pastor. The people who are part of a church are responsible to take care of the needs of the church and to make sure that the pastor has a livable wage, so that money doesn’t become a stumbling block, a distraction, or a worry.

Can all Old Testament verses can be applied personally to believers?

How do we know what verses are speaking to us as believers, particularly from the Old Testament, and which ones God is not directing to us, such as when God is speaking to the nation of Israel?

With the Old Testament, what often is a physical principle for Israel can often be translated into a spiritual principle for New Testament believers. Now, that’s not always the case, but often it can help. Take the example of Achan from the book of Joshua. After God destroys Jericho, He commanded that they devote everything to destruction, and bring anything of value to the Lord’s Treasury. Well, Achan didn’t do that. He took a beautiful coat, all of the silver and bronze and a gold bar, and hid it under his tent. God said that if they did that, He would devote their camp to destruction.

The next day, Israel went out to battle at Ai, but they lost, and 36 men died. Now, what lessons can we draw from this story spiritually? One would be that God doesn’t like sin in our life because it separates us from Him. Another is that there are times where we need to devote things to the Lord. The battle of Jericho was one of the few times in the book of Joshua when the plunder from the destroyed city was given to the Lord. In most other battles, the Israelites got to keep it themselves. Here it was a matter of obedience. We can take this example as a lesson, and ask ourselves several questions: If Israel had to obey what God was saying, what can we as Christians do to obey the Lord? What happens when sin comes into our life? How does God want to bring conviction into our lives? We don’t want to over-spiritualize the Old Testament stories, but it’s good for us to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us from them.