Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wow, Christianity actually helps wellbeing!


Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read it. 

We are starting a new series on the exciting research findings from Teleios! Last week we discussed the reasons for our passion at Teleios to explore the veracity of scripture. Today let us set off on a journey to discover the actual scientific data about how the Bible helps us. It is amazing!

Our first topic is perhaps the most vital: that Bible-based Christianity generally improves wellbeing. These data come from two main sources. 

  • Teleios - We have found through surveys and prospective studies that Christianity actually helps wellbeing both generally and for specific health measures. We will discuss these findings next week.
  • The medical literature – Peer-reviewed scientific studies support improved wellbeing with Christianity! As we began our research at Teleios this was a surprise to us. We found many studies indicating wellbeing was improved by the practice of religion. Importantly, almost all these medical studies were performed in historically Christian countries. This indicates that most all the patients in the studies would have been either social or believing Christians. Many of these studies can be seen in our published papers available on our website. Otherwise, you can conduct your own search of the medical literature at Pubmed.

So let’s examine the medical literature. The findings are impressive and have shown that wellbeing is improved with religion in:

  • Demographics - All age groups (10 years and older), both genders, and African-American as well as Caucasian races.  
  • Broad wellbeing effect - Specific wellbeing related measures such as: sense of purpose, satisfaction, hope, stronger social relationships, and ability to forgive. 
  • Social measures - Vital areas of life such as the family, career, a sense of community and socialization. 
  • Physical health – Healthy and patient populations.  Specific diseases include: glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, various cancers, chronic pain, fatigue, diabetes, diabetic eye disease, congestive heart failure, and HIV.

Religion has shown very few negative effects on wellbeing. Most commonly these have been related to the limited expression of one's faith to either internal or external religious activities alone or to those who have an adversarial relationship with God. The latter type of person might be one who does not understand grace as a means to salvation, instead working to try to satisfy God.

Indeed, it is striking to see that so many researchers have found, through scientific studies, the benefit of religion on wellbeing in Christian countries. These data are extensive and consistent enough that perhaps no other proof is needed from a scientific standpoint. We have a great God who has benefited us with salvation through Christ by grace and provided scripture that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can live useful and joyful lives. 

Join us again next week as we look at evidence from Teleios’ efforts demonstrating Christianity can improve wellbeing.

For questions or to view more of our research…

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What drives us at Teleios?




Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for taking time to read it. 

We will soon start new series about exciting research findings from Teleios! However, before we begin this vital series I want to review briefly what pushes us at Teleios to explore the veracity of scripture.

My wonderful wife, Jeanette, and I have had the privilege over many years to teach the scriptures to college-age students and young adults. Interestingly, what we observed during these studies motivated us to demonstrate the exciting practical value of scripture. Below, I summarize our observations from these fun studies. I will discuss the research findings supporting many of the statements in subsequent blogs.

Our observations, in general!
  • Young Christians almost always say they believe in the truth of scripture (yay!)
  • Upon further discussion, they need to know more (we all do and therefore, we study the Bible!)
  • Consequently, they usually base their decision-making upon precepts learned in: church or college groups, social Christian settings, or from their church denomination
  • Accordingly, they lack confidence in the direct knowledge of God's word
  • They then do not test God’s word in their lives resulting in a failure to build confidence in His precepts
  • Further, they suffer with a nagging doubt, that if they really faced a crisis, their scriptural knowledge could not supply an answer. This crisis appears usually in two forms: 
    • An emotional crisis with themselves or a friend
    • A conversation with a non-believer about the Gospel.
  • Consequently, the temptation exists, because of their insecurities about scripture, to avoid confronting internal or external spiritual conflicts and to simply survive within the social church setting
  • And of course, there is the minority (16-20%) that want to do what they want to do, regardless of God’s Word!

It is like a security guard at the local shopping mall who might enjoy the comfortable job among the nice orderly shoppers. However, he knows deep inside he should learn how to fight in case a crisis ever occurred at the mall, such as armed robbers or an Islamic Jihadist attack. But he doesn’t, knowing that he could run away if a crisis ever came. Consequently, he has no opportunity to ever gain confidence in fighting techniques or his own abilities.

So, it is with many Christians in what I call the ‘cycle of failure’ (please see figure below). They enjoy the social Christian setting and do not learn God's word. Therefore, they really never gain confidence in their biblical knowledge. Accordingly, they never test themselves and obtain a deep confidence in the Bible’s value for daily life. 



The figure describes the ‘Cycle of Failure’ of those who do not learn or test God’s word, not building the confidence to act based on its precepts. Consequently, they never knowing its full power. 

God has granted us a sure and quality Bible text upon which we can base not only our great salvation but the guidance for our lives! The Bible tells us to test God‘s Word to build confidence (Romans 12:2; Greek word ‘dokimazo’) and utilize its power to live our lives with surety and maturity (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 5:14).

Therefore, the name of our foundation is Teleios…
Original Word: τέλειος, α, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: teleios
Phonetic Spelling: (tel'-i-os)
Definition: having reached its end, complete, perfect
Usage: perfect, (a) complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age, (c) specially of the completeness of Christian character
Let us help you reach your spiritual maturity!

Thanks for reading my blog.  Please join us as we explore in the next few weeks the compelling findings from Teleios’ research that demonstrates the overwhelming power of the Bible to salvation and living a fruitful life.

For questions or to view more of our research…


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Thank you God!

Welcome again to my blog. I am delighted you have come to visit. 

Teleios and other authors have shown Christian belief actually can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the Christian life in more detail to see if we can uncover some of the potential underlying causes for improved wellbeing. 

We are discussing currently the practice of Christianity based in Acts 2:42-47. These wonderful verses describe the practice of the Christian walk within the early church. They are repeated throughout the Epistles and so are vital to us today.  I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity’: prayer, fellowship/community, outreach, Bible study and praise. 

Last week we covered Bible study. This week let’s expl

ore praise!

Definition of ‘praise’ 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘praise’ as:
  • To express a favorable judgment of: commend
  • To glorify (a god or saint) especially by the attribution of perfections

Content of praise 

Therefore, as a Christian what should be the content of biblical praise? The Bible gives some hints:

Reason we praise 

Why do we praise God? The reasons are vital to our Christian life and are listed below:
  • The Bible commands us to praise - It is our duty to praise God. However, God does not give us commands without reason, so several potential explanations follow below. (Psalm 150, Romans 15:11, Hebrews 13:15)
  • He deserves praise - Our Father in Heaven is the almighty God who has provided for us salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ, as a free gift through faith that we could have eternal life. This salvation is a sure hope and anchor for our souls. Surely, He deserves glory, thanks, and praise. (1 Peter 4:11, Hebrews 6:19)
  • It is good for us to praise - God made us! Therefore, He knows what is good for us. It is good for us to praise at least for the following reasons:
    • God ordained order – Praise reminds us of the order of the universe. We are not the most important thing in creation. God’s goals and priorities are above, and better than, ours.
    • Humility - Realizing that God’s plans are more important than ours might limit our complaining and remind us that we are here to serve our great God.
    • Attitude – Praise teaches us thankfulness in realizing God’s gifts to us in creation, in Christ and His benefits in this life as our Father. These should promote an attitude of thankfulness and reduce expectations (Philippians 4:8).
We do indeed have a great God who is worthy of all praise! Thank you for joining me today. 

For questions or to view more of our research…

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

We need to know the Bible!

Welcome again to my blog. I am so happy you can visit. 

Teleios and other authors have shown Christian belief can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the Christian life in more detail to see if we can uncover in the Bible some of the underlying causes of the improved wellbeing. 

We are discussing currently the practice of Christianity for which we are using Acts 2:42-47 as a basis. These dynamic verses describe the activities involved in the Christian lifestyle within the early church. These descriptions are repeated throughout the Epistles and so are vital to us today.  I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity’ and can be summarized conveniently as: prayer, fellowship/community, outreach, Bible study and praise. Last week we discussed outreach. Today’s tool for overview is Bible study.

We need to know the Bible! Why? Can we just not memorize the most important verses and follow the style of Christianity we learned in our college group or Sunday school and live a good Christian social life? Social Christianity brings some good things to us and our culture, no doubt. However, it is like settling for crackers when you could be enjoying steak. Let's examine what the Bible says.

The Bible is an authoritative source as it comes from God through the Holy Spirit by way of the apostles (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21, 3:16).

We are told to know and understand God's word (Ephesians 1:15). There are several reasons for this:
  • It is a command (Colossians 1:9)
  • We cannot bear fruit or know what to do without first knowing and understanding the Bible (Colossians 1:10). Accordingly, to function as a Christian, like anything in life, we need to follow the manual.
  • When we know the manual and know what to do, then the process bears much fruit in our lives. We have better wellbeing from a confident relationship with God. Teleios research has actually shown that those who have more knowledge have better well-being and less guilt than those who don't!

It takes a little work and time but the benefits are huge. We can have the joy of:
  • Bearing fruit in our lives such as: joy and peace, etc. (Galatians 5:22).
  • Seeing God work through us in others’ lives (Colossians 1:10).
  • Proving His Word and knowing Him better (Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 1:10).
  • Loving others in a more accurate and useful fashion (Philippians 1:9, 1 John 5:1-3).
  • Judging (i.e., assessing) what's good and bad in situations and people very quickly (Hebrews 5:14) thus keeping ourselves out of life’s difficult situations. 
  • Not having to rely on our emotions so our life becomes more stable and predictable (Hebrews 5:9-14). The Bible does not state that we have a religion based in emotions and actually warns against it (Ephesians 4:12-16, James 1:5-8).

You may be thinking ‘But isn't listening to my pastor’s great sermons and watching an effective video enough?’ As good as these learning experiences may be, we need to study the Bible itself in some detail to fully understand and receive its benefits.

How then do we effectively study Scripture? There are plenty of Bible study resources on Amazon.com or on line that might be effective. Make sure they are Bible and Christian based. In addition, someone in your church also may be able to help you. 

You can start with these basic steps:
  • Download a web-based Bible study tool such as eSword. It's free and has multiple exciting resources to help understand Scripture (www.e-sword.net).
  • Start with a power-packed epistle such as Ephesians or Colossians that will give you essential information about Christ and our Christian life in a concise manner. 
  • Slow down! Take your time and follow these four basic study steps:
  • Observation - Ask questions about the verse.
  • Interpretation - Use resources on eSword to answer your questions.
  • Application - How should the first specifically change your life? 
  • Integration - What are other verses that support your interpretation so you can confidently build what you know about the topic discussed in the verse (e.g. salvation, the Spirit, etc.)?
That's all for today. The Bible is so rich and exciting! Join us next week as we discuss praise!

For questions or to view more of our research…

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Outreach!

Welcome again to my blog. I am glad you can visit. 

Teleios and other authors have shown Christian belief can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the Christian life in more detail to see how biblical truth may improve wellbeing. 
We are discussing the practice of Christianity based on Acts 2:42-47. These wonderful verses describe the practice of the Christian walk within the early church. They are repeated throughout the Epistles and so are vital to us today.  I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity’: prayer, fellowship/community, outreach, Bible study and praise. Last week we discussed fellowship. Today’s tool is outreach.


Problem – Unfortunately, teaching others or sharing the gospel appears to rank right below ‘going to the dentist’ among desired activities. Teleios’ research has shown that people who fear sharing the gospel specifically report being afraid of: social rejection, offending the other person, not knowing what to say, or how to answer others’ questions.
What teaching is not - Teleios has examined people's habits in mentioning the gospel (a part of what we teach others). In a well-taught Evangelical Church, attendees indicated they conveyed the gospel to others most commonly by:
    • Sharing their lives - 78%
    • Praying for others - 71%
    • Encouraging others - 70%
    • Loving others - 68%
    • Explicitly mentioning how to accept Jesus Christ as Savior - 30%
Although sharing our lives is important, it does not replace actually telling someone the gospel or directly teaching the Bible. People cannot guess what we are thinking. Scripture recognizes that we do not have visual support to our faith until Christ comes again (Hebrews 2:8) so others need to hear what to believe and someone must explicitly tell them (Romans 10:14-17).
It is a command - We are told to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2, 15, 24-26, 1 Timothy 4:6, 16, Hebrews 5:12) which involves instructing others in the Word of God. However, teaching also may include admonishing others to correct action or thinking (Colossians 3:17, Ephesians 5:19).
Benefits of teaching
  • Better wellbeing - Teleios has found that people who teach and share the Gospel actually enjoy better wellbeing than those who do not. What initially seems fearful -is actually enriching after a person has shared the Gospel or taught God’s Word.
  • Good judgment – The ability to teach appears associated with accurate and efficient judgment and avoiding nasty pitfalls in life (Hebrews 5:14).
  • Uplifting the church - Further, the benefit of teaching others Scripture or the Gospel is not just for the individual but to the church itself. Teaching the Bible and the Gospel is the primary way that we can grow the church and influence our culture generally (Colossians 1:5-10). Without Christians passing down the precious words of our Father to the next generation, the church certainly can suffer from lack of support as opposed to influencing and benefiting our society.
So, let us get to work! What we possess in the Bible is true and good for our family and acquaintances as well as for our society!
That's all for today. Thank you for joining me. Come back next week when we talk about Bible study!
For questions or to view more of our research…

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Find Your Christian Community

Welcome again to my blog. I am delighted you have come to visit. 
Teleios and other authors have shown Christian beliefs actually can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the Christian life in

more detail to see if we can uncover in the Bible some of the underlying causes of the improved wellbeing. 

We are now discussing the practice of Christianity for which we are using Acts 2:42-47 as a basis. These interesting verses describe the activities involved in the Christian walk within the early church. They are repeated throughout the Epistles. I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity’ and can most easily be summarized as: prayer, fellowship/community, outreach, Bible study and praise. 

Last week we discussed prayer. Today’s tool for consideration is fellowship/community.

Definition - The biblical word ‘fellowship’ is most closely expressed in the Greek by the word koinōnia (κοινωνία), and its derivatives, which mean basically ‘communion’ as well as the word metochē (μετοχή) which means ‘participation’.

What does the Bible say about fellowship? 
The Bible describes fellowship in the most general ways:
  • It occurs only between Christians - This is because we cannot be encouraged or learn from those who do not have the Spirit or who do not understand the Christian faith (1 John 1:6-10, 2 Corinthians 6:14)
  • Do not neglect - We are not to avoid fellowship. This is because it is good for us. It is also good for other people to see God working in us. Please see below (Hebrews 10:15-18, 13:15)
  • Functional definition - In reality, the Bible does not give a lot of detail, or a singular text, defining ‘fellowship’. However, functionally any interaction between Christians that is spiritually based, as described in the Bible, is fellowship (Colossians 3:12-17, Ephesians 5:15-20).

Why do we need fellowship?  
The benefits of fellowship are assumed in scripture. As Christians, we need the example, as well as the verbal encouragement and reminders of God's word from others, to help promote our own walk with God (1 Timothy 4:12, 16). Likewise, our actions and speech provide this to other believers. 
It is our fellowship with the Holy Spirit that provides the strength of character, understanding and knowledge to encourage other believers (Philippians 2:1, 2 Corinthians 13:14).

What fellowship is not! 
One benefit we derive from church is social fellowship around food, games, sports, parties, etc. However, these events may not include true fellowship which should have a spiritual basis. 
Think about it! Be careful in your own life that you provide not only a lifestyle that is encouraging (1 Thessalonians 2:10), but speech that helps others (Ephesians 4:29). How do we do this? Here are some ideas:
  • Know God's word – This is important, so you are speaking to others correct biblical truth and not church based jargon such as ‘that is not my gift’ or ‘God will open a door.’ 
  • Plan ahead - Consider before meeting with a person how you might encourage them specifically with: gratitude, commendation, thought provoking questions, sharing God's word or recounting what God has done in your own life (Colossians 1:3-7, 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7, 1 Timothy 4:16). If you don't know what to ask them, go to their social media accounts and learn about them. If you are attending a gathering, then choose one person to target with whom to fellowship. 
  • Listen - Be sure and listen when conversing so you can learn and discover how you can even better encourage them (James 1:19).
Thank you for joining me today. Enjoy your opportunities for Christian fellowship! Come back next week and we'll discuss outreach!

For questions or to view more of our research…


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Power of Prayer

Welcome again to my blog. I am delighted you have come to visit. 
Teleios Research, along with other authors, has shown Christian belief actually can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the

Christian life in more detail to see how to uncover some of the potential underlying causes of the improved wellbeing. 
We are now discussing the practice of Christianity based on Acts 2:42 and 47. These fascinating verses describe the activities involved in the Christian walk within the early church. They are repeated throughout the Epistles. I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity’.  These activities most easily can be summarized as: prayer, fellowship/community, outreach, Bible study and praise. 
Today’s tool for consideration is prayer. We do indeed have a great God who to whom we are privileged to pray. How do we pray? Here are the basic concepts:
  • Access - As a forgiven Christian God views us as sinless which allows us the privilege of direct, unimpeded access to Him so we can pray. We can come before God with courage (Hebrews 10:20-23)! The only limitation is ourselves from lack of obedience, guilt or fear, that would limit or damage the content of our prayers (1 Peter 3:7).
  • Attitude in prayer 
    • Faith - James tells us not to doubt when we pray and we can accomplish much (James 1:6-7; James 5:16).
    • Glorify Christ - We are to pray in such a way that is consistent with the goals of Christ as established in the Bible (John 14:13-14).
    • Continual - Our prayers are to be persistent and frequent (Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
    • Everywhere - Pray in all places (1 Timothy 2:8).
    • Attitude adjustment - Allow prayer itself to correct our attitudes and requests (1 Timothy 4:5).
    • Unhindered by sin - 1 Peter 3:7
    • Sober and watchful - 1 Peter 4:7
    • According to the Spirit - Our prayer should be consistent with God’s revealed Word (i.e., scripture) which the Holy Spirit uses to provide us power (Ephesians 6:17; Jude 1:20).
  • Content of Prayer 
    • Thankfulness - We should express gratitude for what God has done in in our and other people's lives (Philemon 1:4)
    • Praise - We should acknowledge God’s holy character and actions
    • Note: The first two aspects of the content of our prayer adds to the proper attitude of prayer mentioned above but are also important content.  
    • Our requests - We may petition God with anything that worries us or concerns us. We should remember that we are praying to the great God of the universe in our attitude as mentioned above (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 4:12).
What about confession of our sins? This is a controversial point. We are free to confess but it is not necessary for the following reasons: 
  • The Epistles do not instruct us to confess our sins to God.
  • We are already forgiven. 
The common injunction in the Epistles for our attitude with respect to sin is simply to obey. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us obey and defeat our sins. Therefore, our prayers can be more forward-looking, service-oriented and filled with praise and thankfulness. 
Thank you for joining me today. Come back next week and we'll discuss fellowship, the third of the 5 tools to maturity.

For questions or to view more of our research…