TNG Radio, where today's culture and timeless truths come together. It's reasoned, relevant content apologetics, worldview, and answers to the questions that you need to know. From Alex McFarland Evangelistic Ministries. Welcome to Truth For A New Generation Radio. And now the man who preached in 50 states in 50 days, speaker, writer, and advocate for Christian apologetics, Dr. Alex McFarland.
The Word of God says in Galatians 4 that in the fullness of time God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, to redeem those that were under the law in the fullness of time. Hi, Alex McFarland here. Welcome to another edition of Truth For A New Generation. It's Christmas! We wish you a merry Christmas. Angie and I and our board and our staff, we send our love and Christmas greetings to each and every one of you.
We appreciate you listening. And you know, Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. Oh my goodness, we at the McFarland household, we do Christmas, and it starts about August, and we love Christmas. But I love the reality of how God at precisely the right time sent Jesus. The Bible talks about Christ came in fulfillment of prophecy, born in Bethlehem.
The angels made the annunciation to the shepherds, and they said, let us go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord has made known unto us. And yet, at this time of great joy, when we celebrate the birth of the Savior, the dear Lord Jesus, a lot of people are unhappy. There's depression. Statistics tell us that substance abuse, alcohol abuse is up.
Domestic violence sometimes, and sadly, tragically, even suicide. Well, I've got a very dear friend, and we're going to talk about the providence of God and how God's plan relates to your life. Eric Pace is a long-time friend and colleague.
You've seen him on our television show. He's a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. I love him as a friend and a Christian brother, but I respect him as a mental health professional, and I wanted to pick his brain a little bit and maybe get some pointers about how to recognize the signs of depression and to stave off some of the pitfalls people fall into, but we're going to have a conversation with Eric Pace. And also, the larger theme here, I want to talk about the providence of God, because the very same wise God who sent Jesus at precisely the right time, that's the God who oversees your journey too, my dear friend.
God knows your steps and the path of life that you're on, and he wants to be a part of that path with you. But Reverend Eric Pace, Certified Biblical Counselor, it's good to see you again. Thanks for making time to be with us on the show. It's great to be here, Alex.
Thanks for asking me. Let me ask a little bit of backstory, because before we recorded, you just had an anniversary. You went back to one of your alma maters for your 25th anniversary of getting your master's degree, and I think even in talking with some of your colleagues and professors, you reflected on the providence of God in your own journey, didn't you?
I did. It was 1992 when I launched at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and I had no idea really why I was there. But what Alex had alluded to when we started off was how isolation can really form people into a mode of depression or substance abuse. And I had been a long-term user and drunkard of substances and alcohol for some time, and in 1992, God sought in his wisdom and providence to bring me back to the home church that I was raised at from the womb and going to Alcoholics Anonymous as well as entering into this graduate program of studies at A&T. So with that being moving forward, that first year was pretty tough. I really didn't know why I was there. I just was trying to do anything I could to be delivered from this bondage.
But it was really a performance-based mentality for me and what I could do. But the longer I stayed there and after that first year in 1993, God delivered me from that bondage of using and drinking. And it had such a weightedness this past Saturday as I sat there with my colleagues and peers from North Carolina A&T. And as we started to look at that as a historically black college and university, we were sitting there just asking me, what was your school of discipline, Eric?
Why would you choose A&T? And I was looking back and forth, multiple questions coming at me. Remember, I'm the only white man that's there, and they had questions. And I looked at them, I said, truthfully, I'm certain that was God's use for his mission. And when he delivered me from that bondage of drugs in alcohol, I went and shared it with my department head, Dr. Cameron, which is going to be with the Lord, and Dr. Bernardine Chapman, which was my supervisor.
And they wrapped their arms around me, and I had two intercessors for the next three years. And what a launch for the Christmas season, because Christ came, even as a child, under the shadow of the cross. That was his purpose. And also, to pray for us, he's our intercessor.
That's how we are like him more than anything, when we're praying for others. And my colleagues and peers started crying, and they were going, Eric, I can't believe that we're already having church here right now, and they hadn't even started commencement. And I was crying, too. My oldest son was with me.
He's 17 and a half. It was such a special time. And then we had the commencement speaker, Michael Reagan, which is the first black EPA director that's ever been appointed in the United States government. And he got up, and here he goes, saying the exact same thing, talking about God's providence and faithfulness and his launch there.
It was such a special time, because his entire commencement was one about faith. Yeah, don't you often see the will of God retrospectively, Eric? I mean, and by the way, let me just say this, folks, some of the best advice I ever got is just do the next right thing. You know, I have a lot of young people, Eric, who'll say, how can I know God's will for my life? And I have kids who say, you know, Mr. McFarland, you write books and you preach. How did you plan this?
I said, I didn't plan anything. I just got saved, and I wanted to marry Angie, and we were in youth ministry, and you look up one day and 30 years has gone by. But, Eric, would you agree with those two statements? Just do the next right thing, and God will lead you. Amen.
I've learned that to be very accurate. And also, one of my supervisors told me, what's best next, Eric? We're already doing something that's good, but what's best next? So therefore we're looking for wisdom issues.
Then what's better and best? Well, we're going to have to take a break, folks. If you're just tuning in, this is Truth for a New Generation with Alex McFarland, our very special guest, certified biblical counselor, Eric Pace.
We're talking about overcoming depression here at Christmas and throughout the holidays. A lot of very exciting information. We've got to take a brief break, a merry Jesus-filled Christmas to one and all. We're back after this brief break.
DNG Radio. Alex has written many books to help you defend your faith. One of them answers questions from skeptics.
It's cleverly titled, Ten Answers for Skeptics. Today's skeptics are looking for authenticity, integrity, and straightforward truth. And in the book, Alex McFarland identifies the ten most common types of skepticism that plague doubters' minds and offers believers proven strategies for connecting intellectually and spiritually with those who are skeptical about the claims of Christianity. Learn how to answer intimidating questions. Identify the root issue behind those questions and dismantle the spiritual bombshells dropped by atheists.
Plus, find encouragement to face hostility by persevering in love. The ultimate apologetic Christians can offer as a witness to our loving God. Check out Ten Answers for Skeptics when you visit alexmcfarland.com. Have you ever wanted to raise your hand during a sermon?
Well, here's your chance. Hi, Alex McFarland here from the nationally syndicated radio program, Exploring the Word. For more than ten years, my co-host Bert Harper and I have taught scripture and answered hundreds of Bible questions. We've compiled a brand new book of the top 100 Bible questions from listeners of all ages. From questions about supposed Bible contradictions to apologetics facts that prove the truths of Scripture, this new book features practical content that will make the Bible come alive for you.
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Welcome back to Truth For A New Generation. We're talking with Eric Pace about Christmas and, you know, when those angels appeared in Luke chapter 2, glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will to men. Christmas is just the happiest time of the year. Eric, the old Andy Williams song, it's the most wonderful time of the year. But people do get depressed, don't they?
And maybe this is the first Christmas and a beloved family member is not there this year. And for those that are bereaved or grieving something, we send our love and prayers and condolences. But, Eric, God led you, like you said, to go to school. God has led you. Is it fair to say that God has a plan for every life and God is willing to lead and guide if we only let him in? He is certainly providential and sovereign over everyone's life and everything he creates because he owns, he possesses everything. He created all things and all things by him were created.
So I say yes to that as well. So how do we get off the path? I mean, if God loves us and God has a plan, God has a plan for history, and so since we're in history, obviously God must have a plan for us. But oftentimes we find ourselves out in the weeds. How do we get off the path? How do we find our way back? Well, based on the record of scripture, in Ecclesiastes, God said that through Solomon that he's placed eternity in our hearts.
And with that, he's also, we have to follow man. And so in 1 John it says that many times we compromise that eternity by the desires of the flesh, the pride of life, the lust of the eye, and we can get off track with that. And isolation, I believe, is a primary component of getting off a track there because we sit there and either daydream about what we don't have or have self-pity and self-centeredness, all these different things that we think we need, and fear-based, and all our fear can really be put in two basic presuppositions, not obtaining something we desire or losing something we already have. Not obtaining something we desire, losing something we already have. And isn't it funny, we fret over these things, but then we engage in toxic behavior that causes these things.
Absolutely. And so when that happens, Alex, we start to move in a different area away from a biblical worldview. And when we compromise the biblical worldview, it's as ancient as the fall in heaven and the cosmos of Revelation 12.
It's as ancient as the fall in Genesis 3 in the garden. You won't surely die, or what else can you do? The accuser of the brethren as well. What do you say to the person who, maybe the holidays and Christmas, you know, for one, my heart goes out to moms, and they get stressed, and the food's got to be perfect, and you know, life is not a Hallmark card, as much as we have these idyllic pictures in our mind. But can we still enjoy Christmas and family, even amidst the stress and the fact that, hey, the table might not be perfect, all of the tree and the trimmings, it might not look like something out of a television movie, but we still need to savor the moments. How do we do that in a world that says, reach for perfection? When I see the record of Scripture, and I see that the shepherds were approached by the angels and the host, the most disenfranchised of that culture, isolated from everyone else, and yet they were approached with the good news and the great joy, but also the magi, some of the elite.
So we look at that all the way from the very elite all the way to the most disenfranchised, and we're somewhere in between. And God will definitely want us to have that joy because Christ is coming in. Everything was prefigured from that, from the Old Testament, the coming, the first advent, but now also under the shadow of the second advent when he returns.
So something 2,000 years ago still matters in the 21st century? Just as relevant as the time it was written, and even before, because it's an eternity past, and it was an eternity present, it was an eternity future, that we can understand the truth of it, and when I see that Jesus is saying that, the most important thing that really the disciples want to know about was, teach us to pray. Teach us to pray. We need to learn the Scriptures. We have 66 books that we have been given to look at that, and when we see the joy there, that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and we can sit there. Gratitude is the gateway to joy.
If we can find something to be grateful about, then we can be away from that isolation and that self-centeredness. That is a great statement you made. Now talk about a sound bite. When I do radio interviews I say, give us some sound bites. Okay, you just said, gratitude is the gateway to joy.
Repeat that and elaborate on it if you would. Okay, gratitude being the gateway to joy, it has a presupposition to it, though, usually pain and suffering, because pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth, and when we experience it pain and suffering, Christ experienced it, and so do we in our lives. Alex alluded to some of the loved ones that may not be with us this Christmas, or something happened financially in our homes, or just fill in the blank on it, but we do have those items that are perplexing. We may not have complete certainty over, but one thing is certain is God will never leave you or forsake you. He cares so much about you and me and His creation, His creative work, that He even knows every hair of our head. I can't understand that, but I can certainly embrace it and see the demonstration of His great love, His great grace, His great mercy, just through the different items in my life, and when I sit there and start to really look at those and ponder the thoughts and posture my heart towards Him instead of what I don't have, instead of what I do have, and thank God I'm not where I used to be, but where I am today.
You know, clearly the Bible condemns idolatry, and I think when we hear the word idolatry, we might think of bowing down to a golden idol, and you know, few, if anybody, would do that, but when we love the blessings more than the blesser, isn't that a type of idolatry? It certainly is, and the longer we walk with the Lord, it's such a progressive walk. We think that perhaps we'll be there, but Paul even said, though I've not attained a strife for the mark of the high calling, we just come off the skirt of Thanksgiving, and a lot of times more often than not, some people call that the Bermuda Triangle, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, we all go to that place. Hey, we've got to take a break. Now, folks, listen, when we come back, we're going to ask Eric Pace two questions.
One, how do we break the cycle of toxic behavior? And we're even going to be talking about finding joy when we think our heart is empty. Stay tuned. We're going to be back right after this.
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Join us online for our broadcast and subscribe for relevant updates on our website, truthandliberty.net. Welcome back to Truth For A New Generation, and we're going to resume our conversation with Eric Pace, a certified biblical counselor. Again, I want to say Merry Christmas to one and all.
How we love you and we thank you. I give God the glory for a banner year of ministry. We did our first post-COVID Truth For A New Generation conference back in October of 2021, had people from at least 14 states, had many, many, many decisions for Christ.
I've been in Illinois, Nevada, Indianapolis, Indiana, goodness, Grand Rapids, Michigan, three or four trips to Texas, all over America preaching. And I want to say, as this year draws to a close, thank you one and all for all of the churches that invite me in, for all the people that buy our books and resources, for the people that listen to the radio broadcasts live and prerecorded, our television viewers, so many things. And folks, we have an incredible staff and board. They send their love. But I do want to remind you of two very, very special things.
Please listen carefully. For one, our youth camp. The theme for 2022 is Unashamed, Building Your Biblical Worldview, July 17-22. We'll be at a camp just about an hour east of Raleigh, North Carolina. I'll be there.
Will and Miki Addison from the American Family Radio Network will be there. Look, we're going to be talking about what does it mean to be a disciple. We're going to be talking about how to defend your faith. We're going to be talking about transgender and just the moral issues of our day.
We're going to be talking about a biblical response to wokeness. This is for middle schoolers and high schoolers. There'll be ample chaperones, and we're at a wonderful camp called The Refuge. And you can sign up at ncrefuge.org.
NC as in North Carolina. Look, there'll be horseback riding and archery and a ropes course and an Olympic-sized swimming pool and stand-up paddle boarding. All the great activities of camp, July 17-22.
It is going to be wonderful, but the best part of all, I will be there. We will equip your middle school and high schoolers to walk with the Lord, to stand up for their faith. I'll just say it, we're trying to equip a generation to love God and country. And so, youth groups are welcome.
There is scholarship help, the registration page, ncrefuge.org, and just look for unashamed building your biblical worldview. And listen, regardless, we want your teens to be there. The other thing I want to make you aware of is the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. I'll be there July 8-10, teaching 1 Peter, a very good book for biblical worldview and apologetics, 1 Peter, and then in 2023 I'll be teaching 2 Peter.
But the summer of 22, you need to be there. This is a wonderful event, July 8, 9, and 10. If you've ever been to the Cove, you know, world-class accommodations, the food, the fellowship, people from all over America, Angie will be there. We're going to have a great time, and we'll get into the Word of God. And of course, being at the Cove, you know, Billy Graham and Ruth Graham prayer-walked over those hillsides.
No exaggeration, folks. When you are at the Cove, you will experience the presence of God. It would be a wonderful gift to give somebody or a gift to give yourself. Come and let's convene at the Cove July 8-10 as we get into the Word of God and as we pray for our nation. Well, right now we've been having a wonderful conversation with my long-time friend and colleague Eric Pace. And, brother, I just want to say thank you. Look, I know you. You've spent your adult life counseling people, leading souls to Christ, and talking people off a ledge when it comes to their emotions and counseling people, getting them rooted in a biblical worldview.
And in the time that remains, Eric, I want to ask you a couple of questions. Families—I've seen it—families can get into patterns of behavior that are oftentimes not good. And maybe somebody listening says, oh, I dread it.
It's always the same thing. There's hurt feelings. And what do you say to the person that really wants to help their family break cycles of, for lack of a better word, toxic behavior? First of all, there has to be some type of leadership involved where you can be a servant. Leading is important, but it's usually led by example and within that framing. And what I would like to encourage in reading the Scriptures, you've got to examine what you're reading, what you're perhaps taking in, and see if it does have a biblical, godly worldview. But one thing that we're certain of is the Psalms to us. And the Psalms and the Psalmist constantly started out in anguish more often than not. And he was plighted, and he was under oppression, and so were we more often than not. But as he started to turn his emphasis towards a personal God, one that he knew, oh God, my Lord, and he would ask God to consider my ways. He started to submit, and then he started to praise God. So that's where the foundation, what we already talked about, gratitude being a gateway to joy. Because the pain will get us into the platform, touchstone of spiritual growth, will get us through the platform of what we're grateful for. I remember my steadfast love, and you are and have dealt bountifully with me, because he paid the bounty. He paid the bounty on the cross for our lives. And if you can look at that and lead by example, and it may not change overnight, but it does change.
And first of all, it has to change within yourself. You know, folks, we're almost out of time here, but I want to say as Christmas draws near, remember that line from one of the great Christmas songs, Eric, just about my favorite song in the whole world, is O Holy Night. And there's a line, now listen to this folks as we close, Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared, Jesus appeared, and the soul felt its worth. See, you have worth before God. Do you know you're valuable to God? The Lord loves you. Now, we're sinners, and the way that we're forgiven, we admit our sin, we say, Lord, I am sorry for my sin, I do believe in Jesus, and Lord, I'm asking you to wash me clean.
Do that right now. Christmas is a season of gifts and giving. They say, well, how about receiving the gift of God's Son, Jesus?
How about giving the Lord a gift of your life? See, you're valuable to God. Don't say I'm worthless. You're not. Don't say I've waited too long. You haven't. We say this all year.
We say it in hundreds of microphones around the nation, and I'll say it now. Jesus is as close by as a prayer. And so the Lord loves you.
Believe that. God has things for you. Great blessings. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus Christ, who makes our life worthwhile. And so any way we can help you, my website is alexmcfarland.com.
There's a little tab on there. What does God say about my relationship with Him? But reach out to us if we can serve you in any way and encourage you in your walk and your witness for Christ. We would love to hear from you. Merry Christmas, and God bless you. Thank you, Lord.
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