229 episodes

Ask the Pastor with J.D. Greear is a weekly podcast that answers tough questions and tackles relevant issues in a way that is filled with grace, understanding, and wisdom from God’s Word. Hosted by Matt Love.

Ask the Pastor with J.D. Greear J.D. Greear

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 600 Ratings

Ask the Pastor with J.D. Greear is a weekly podcast that answers tough questions and tackles relevant issues in a way that is filled with grace, understanding, and wisdom from God’s Word. Hosted by Matt Love.

    How Do I Share the Gospel With a Staunch Atheist?

    How Do I Share the Gospel With a Staunch Atheist?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: Welcome

    J.D., you’ve heard from a member at The Summit Church’s own Chapel Hill Campus who asked you how to share the gospel with a staunch atheist, which we felt like would be a great topic for this week’s episode.

    J.D.: Yeah Matt, I’m sure many of us have been in a situation like this where God lays someone on your heart to share the gospel with, but you know they’re firm in their belief—or unbelief—as an atheist. And it can feel like, “Where do I even begin to share the love of God with them when they don’t believe that any sort of god exists?”

    A lot of prayer: pray 1st, 2nd and 3rd

    Don’t overwhelm them. Don’t talk about it all the time

    Pray for opportunities to show extraordinary grace (Acts 16)

    Invite them to read the Bible. Heb 4:12: Charles Spurgeon talked about the Bible like a caged lion: all we have to do is let it out because who’s ever heard of defending a lion? Read the Bible… 

    After you’ve had a couple of intentional conversations, shift more to answering questions 1 Peter 3:15. Trust the Spirit of God to do the work and think of it more like fishing.

    Now, that said… 

    Of course, I do think it’s wise to be prepared for conversations like these, and I’ll try to be as practical as I can in that.

    Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer talked about “taking the roof off” of various worldviews that people might hold. 

    Everyone has some kind of worldview – even an atheist – and Schaeffer meant that a person’s worldview is kind of like a house that they construct. But there’s only one “blueprint” that can effectively explain all aspects of life, support all the evidence in the world, and be lived out consistently with all of that, and that’s a Christian worldview. All other worldviews are defective in one way or another.

    So to “take the roof off” of an atheist’s worldview, I’d ask questions. 

    On that topic, Randy Newman has a great book called Questioning Evangelism, where he talks about evangelizing through questions like these. He even points out how often Jesus asked questions of skeptics and people curious about his ministry.

    One of the very best questions we can ask people in these conversations, Newman writes, is very simple: “Really?”

    Questions like, “Do you really believe we came from nothing, and yet life is so meticulously and miraculously held together?” Or, “Do you really believe that nothing happens when we die?”

    Gavin Ortlund, Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t

    Christianity versus naturalism in relation to the basic elements that all stories have: origins, meaning, conflict, and hope. The constant question will be: Which is telling us a better story—a story that better accounts for the strangeness, the incompleteness, the brokenness, and the beauty of our world?

    A Christian apologist once remarked to me that on university campuses thirty years ago he was asked more questions about Christianity’s truth (Does God exist? Did Jesus rise from the dead? etc.); today he is asked more questions about Christianity’s goodness (Is the church intolerant? Are Christians homophobic? etc.).

    Matt:  Next up we're answering the question, "Does Modesty Matter?" Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to check out YouTube and subscribe @J.D.Greear.


    • 15 min
    Should Christians Support Israel?

    Should Christians Support Israel?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: J.D., this week we’re pivoting from our series on spiritual disciplines and we’ll be tackling some one-off questions our listeners have been sending us for the next few weeks. One of the topics we’ve had several people ask about is how to process what’s going on in Israel and their conflict with Gaza…

    J.D.: Yeah, Matt, wow. Well, there are a lot of very intense views on this subject. And that makes sense, because it’s a topic that combines worldview with theology—particularly eschatology, or the part of theology that concerns the end times and modern politics.

    And we won’t get into a full blown “end times” episode here, but we do need a little help understanding some of the terms that get thrown around. 

    “Premillennialism” is the belief that part of God’s plan for the end times involves a 1000 year reign of Jesus that is still to come, and a physical Israel is a part of that.

    The relevance to this discussion is this: Many premillennialists viewed the fact that Israel has their own nation – which happened in 1948, in case you failed your history class—as at least a partial fulfillment of biblical prophecy. God was reinstituting the nation.

    And that’s led to the embrace of the Zionist movement, which, practically speaking, means that anything that advances Israel’s interests is correct and functionally, means you give them an automatic pass on most questions. Their destiny is to rule the world, at least that part of it, so anything they do toward that end we’re in support of.

    Let me say this clearly: that’s not true. Whatever your view of eschatology, it’s never appropriate to wink at injustice. Whatever God does, we never need to “do evil evil may that good may come.” Where Israel, as a nation, commits crimes or acts unjustly, we should unhesitatingly call it out. We should always be on the side of justice.

    Now, as a pastor, I typically don’t wade into the finer points of politics or world events—neither called nor competent—and I’m not going to do that here. What I do is talk about the principles that undergird our approach, and that’s what I want to do here: to talk about is a dangerous narrative that has entered the convo that I think it’s important for Christians to identify and reject, and that is: 

    That modern-day Israel has no right to the land they’re currently occupying; Israel is basically an occupying power--like Britain was in India, or even like European colonists were in parts of N America or Australia—and because they are an occupying power, whatever Palestinians do to get them out is ok. This is a decolonization project. The myth is that Palestinians were living happily in the land until GB came in and forced the colonization in 1948. And then some even like to say that the Jews there are white and it’s another example of white colonization of POC. 

    But that’s a completely fallacious comparison. 

    First, the Jewish presence in the land stretches back for centuries. Modern Israel is home to 9 million Jews MOST are descended from people who migrated back to the Holy Land from 1881 to 1949, before Israel became a state.So Britain didn’t bring them in.

    In fact, Britain had turned against the Zionist movement in the 1930s, and from 1937 to 1939 moved toward an Arab state with no Jewish state at all

    But in 1947, a compromise was made: the United Nations devised the partition of that area into two states, one Arab and Jewish. It was the “two-state solution” we hear a lot about today, BUT the reason it never happened was in 1948, Arab forces refused the two-state solution the UN sought to enact by attacking Israel. That led to the aborting the quest for a Palestinian state, because the claim was that Israel should have no part of the land, and there would be no rest until Israel as a state cEased to exist.

    • 17 min
    Spiritual Disciplines Recap + Q&A

    Spiritual Disciplines Recap + Q&A

    Show Notes:

    MATT: J.D., we just wrapped up the last of the spiritual disciplines we wanted to cover, and it’s been a great 8-part series. But before we move on, we wanted to answer a few more questions from our listeners and kind of recap what we talked about. A lot of these are more general questions about the disciplines as a whole, and some focus in on certain ones. We’ll keep this a little more “rapid fire.”

    First up, from Ashley: How to help my teens practice the spiritual disciplines?

    J.D.: I feel that, and as a parent of teenagers, we obviously want to see them grow in all the areas and habits God wants them to. And at the same time, once they’re that age, it’s hard can’t make them do anything.

    I’ve said this before, but a friend of mine told me… (mechanic vs farmer)

    Prayer is a big key here.

    It never hurts to have conversations with them, to check in about these things. To share what the SD’s look like in your life. To model them for the whole family and explain why you’re modeling them.

    Practically: a book list (My Essential Christianity; A Praying Life; for boys: JC Ryle’s Thought for Young Men and Kent Hughes’ Disciplines of a Godly Young Man; for girls, 7 Lies and the Truth that Sets them Free; Rebecca McLaughlin’s 10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask; Tactics by Greg Koukl).

    MATT: From Tiffany: How do we avoid guilt as we fail and succeed in practicing the disciplines?

    This is such an easy trap to fall into. The enemy wants us to feel guilty.

    It’s a relationship: (my dad’s story)

    • 14 min
    Spiritual Disciplines Ep. 7: Worship

    Spiritual Disciplines Ep. 7: Worship

    Show Notes:

    MATT: J.D., our next spiritual discipline is worship. What do we mean by the “discipline of worship?”

    J.D.: Matt, good question. I’m excited to talk about this one because I think it’s perhaps the least-understood spiritual discipline. When I say “worship,” what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Probably the 3 or 4 “worship songs” we sing when we gather at church—or even just the genre of the music itself. But Jesus said the Greatest Commandment was to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds, and this is the heart of everything else we do. This is worship, and it’s the center of the Christian life. The center of the Christian’s life, plain and simple, is worship. The center of our discipleship is not community or mission or evangelism or justice work; it’s worship. 

    And that’s because we were created for God. One of my favorite devotional writers, Chris Tiegreen, said: “Worship is not part of the Christian life; IT IS the Christian life.” You could be really busy with all the other stuff, but if it doesn’t come out of a heart of passionate love for God, it’s all just dry, dead, religious formality

    At TSC, we attach two important disciplines to the identity of ‘worshiper’: 1. weekly, corporate worship (as in, coming to church each weekend, just like Jesus commanded--he says in Hebrews, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”); the second is daily personal worship (a daily time where you meet with God, like we see exemplified in the life of Jesus). I hope you practice both.

    MATT: From Dalton: “What is the importance of worshiping together instead of online?”

    Listen, I get it. Sometimes health considerations keep you at home. And if you’re sick, please, skip a week. But I think of it like this; sometimes when I’m sick, I will quarantine in my room so I don’t get the rest of my family sick. And I’ve even FaceTimed into family dinner so I could be a part! That’s like “Super Dad.” 

    But if every night, even when I’m healthy, I go up to my room and FaceTime into dinner for a few minutes, then you would be right to suspect my commitment to our family. Be in person. 

    You can’t follow Jesus and not be connected with his family.

    Matt: Next week, we'll continue our series on the spiritual disciplines by recapping everything we've talked about and answering a few new questions, too! Don’t miss it next week.

    We're now on YouTube; subscribe to @J.D.Greear.


    • 12 min
    Spiritual Disciplines Ep. 6: Giving

    Spiritual Disciplines Ep. 6: Giving

    Show Notes:

    Matt: J.D., today we’ll cover our next spiritual discipline, and this week, we’re talking about giving. Everyone loves talking about money, right?


    Let’s start with the assumption that God doesn’t need our money. In Psalm 50, God says, “I don’t have needs… and if I did have one, I wouldn’t come to you.” God owns the cattle on a thousand hills… The question of money is what it shows about where your heart is.

    First of all, money reveals, more than anything, what we treasure and trust most. Our mouth can talk a big spiritual game all day long, but it’s what we do with our money that shows where our heart actually is

    Which is why Jesus talked about money all the time. It was his most frequently addressed subject. 16 of his 38 parables were about money. He talked about handling money more than he did about relationships; talked about money than he did about heaven and hell. 500 verses in the Bible are about prayer; less than 500 are about faith. More than 2000 are about money. An astounding 1 out of 10 verses in the Gospels talk about money! 

    Jesus didn’t talk about money because he needed it--I mean, he could multiply bread loaves and fish or pull gold coins out of fishes’ mouths whenever he wanted--no, he talked about money because he knew money was the most reliable indicator of where our heart actually was.

    In Matthew 6, Jesus warned that money ends up serving as the PRIMARY substitute in our hearts for God. He said, in no uncertain terms, that we couldn’t serve God and money. (That’s the only thing he ever spoke like that about! He never said that about power or sex or anything.) Money is the one thing, he said, that if you love it, you won’t care about God; and if you love God, you won’t care that much about it.

    MATT: That brings up a comment from a listener named Rita, who said one of the things she’s been learning regarding the spiritual discipline of giving is how “James urges us to consider why God gave us our money in the first place.”

    JD: Yeah, that’s right. And also in Matthew 6, Jesus talked about two different personality types and different ways they have problems with money.

    For some, money is their security. It’s their safeguard against tragedy or a rainy day. And so, when they get an extra $1000 in their paycheck, they want to save it. For others, money is their significance, their means of a happy and pleasurable life. So, when they get an extra $1000 in their paycheck, they want to spend it. New TV. New drapes. Go on vacation. Btw, in God’s providence, these two different personality types always marry each other! And here’s the irony—each think the other has a problem with money. But Jesus said they actually have the same problem—in that both look to money to provide something only God can provide. 

    To those who think of money as security, Jesus says, “Consider the ravens…” To those who think of money as significance, he says, “Consider the lilies…” 

    To both of them he says, “Seek first the KoG…” “All these things” means all the security or the significance we crave.

    So one of the reasons Jesus talked about money all the time is that it reveals the truth about what we treasure and trust most. Where your money is, Jesus said, that’s where your heart will be, also. 

    The second reason Jesus talked about money so much is that what we do with our money shows whether or not we see ourselves as owners of our lives or stewards. At our church, we often talk about the “Five Identities of a Disciple.” One of them is steward. And that’s very different than owner. An owner believes his resources belong to him. A steward sees all his resources as belonging to God—he’s merely the caretaker. When you become a disciple, you cease to see yourself as an owner of anything in your life, only a steward.

    • 13 min
    Spiritual Disciplines Ep. 5: Fasting

    Spiritual Disciplines Ep. 5: Fasting

    Show Notes:

    Matt: J.D., our next spiritual discipline is fasting. J.D., tell us about it…

    J.D.: I mentioned this in our prayer episode, but as we’re recording this, our church is in a season we do every year called 21DOP and fasting. Fasting is basically eliminating something from your life – traditionally, food is what gets eliminated – in order to focus the time and energy you would’ve put into that thing on God.

    Fasting is sometimes relegated to the “varsity level” of Christianity, as if it’s only for super-Christians.

    But that’s not true. Fasting isn’t given to us as an option. Jesus in Matt. 6 says, “WHEN you fast…” – not “If you fast.” So how do we do it?

    Years ago, I wrote a blog post called “I Hate Fasting.” The title is a little tongue-in-cheek, but many Christians, in honest moments, agree with me. Fasting days put you in a bad mood. You rarely come out feeling more spiritual, you come out feeling like you could eat a raw goat.

    The reason for that is that though many Christians know they ought to fast, they don’t know why they fast. They know it is connected to prayer, but they don’t know what the connection is and they end up fasting in a way that is completely out of step with the gospel.

    Often, we fast because we assume that “punishing” ourselves somehow makes us and our prayers more acceptable to God. Fasting shows God how badly we want and deserve whatever we are asking for. God is moved, we believe, by our culinary flagellation and he grudgingly grants us what we ask for, since we’ve suffered so much in our fast.

    That, of course, is a not-even-very-well-veiled version of works-righteousness, and a flagrant denial of what the Gospel teaches us about God. Rather than making God more willing to answer our prayers, it offends God by acting like Christ’s work is not sufficient

    So the question is, why do we do it? 

    Bottom line: it’s not to put God in a better mood to hear us; but to put us in a better position to God.

    It gives God a chance to purify our hearts from idols--to remind us that we need God’s voice more than we need anything else in the world, including food. It demonstrates to God that we understand that, that we crave it, and trains our own souls to think that way. 

    It also gives us a greater sensitivity to the “voice” of the Spirit.

    In short: Fasting doesn’t change God; fasting changes us.

    Matt: We had a listener question from Shannon who asked, " Should fasting be food like it was in the Bible? Can you explain food fast vs abstaining?"

    So, Shannon, great question. Like I mentioned, many people at our church are fasting right now—and we encourage them to start with food, but we don’t limit it to that. 

    I know many, many people who have benefited greatly from fasting from all kinds of things.

    Social media


    This is not unbiblical, btw--Paul talked about a married couple abstaining from sexual activity as a kind of fast. There’s a principle at work--I am depriving myself of something I desire to train my soul how much more I desire, and am desperate for, God and his power

    But like I said, I personally think fasting from food is the “best” option.

    There are a lot of things our minds and our bodies enjoy, but food is one thing the body needs. 

    To deprive your body of its usual “fuel” very quickly creates a noticeable void, and if we’re fasting correctly, we’ll fill that void with both dependence and communion with the Holy Spirit.

    (Obviously, you have to do this safely. You should only do it if you are physically or psychologicaly able) 

    I’ve heard fasting from food described as “Praying with your stomach,” and “temporarily starving your body so you can better feast with yo...

    • 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
600 Ratings

600 Ratings

Carltonxmoore ,

A Great way to start the day

Appreciate the pastoral perspective on tough questions

Sgpbball ,

Biblical and True!

JD Greear‘s answers to life’s toughest questions are founded in Biblical truth that will bring the aroma of life to those following it and the aroma of death to those against it (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). It’s no surprise that the ones leaving negative reviews are the ones smelling the aroma of death and rejecting what JD has been empowered by the Holy Spirit to say. The answers are meant to be convicting, because they go against our sinful choices, so some people won’t like what he has to say. Stop doing AND supporting what is right in your own eyes, and turn your eyes and hearts to what God says is right (Judges 21:25).

JewelzKader ,

Always Insightful

JD Greear answers the questions you never thought to ask. Always encouraging and insightful to hear the gospel perspective.

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