My Creator: The Bible Part 1

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Last month we looked at the thought that we can’t get to a moral law or society without a moral standard outside of us. The recent events in Connecticut and China have reminded us that evil is very real in our world. Today I’d like to consider another subject that gives me evidence of a creator and more specifically, the God of Christianity. That subject is the Bible. The Bible remains the number one read book of all time by a landslide. It has sold almost 5 times more copies than the next best seller.

Now the Bible has been used and abused for many generations so my goal is not to address all the ways in which the Bible has been mistreated (and misinterpreted) to come up with weird and dangerous practices. I will be concentrating on some areas that are simply stated plainly and testable. There’s several ways the Bible shows evidence and in this post, part 1, I will be looking at the Bible and science.

The Bible doesn’t claim to be a science book. It is a book of God’s dealings with humanity over the course of many centuries culminating in the giving of His Son Jesus to rescue our souls from sin and the establishment of His church. However this does not mean that there isn’t science in the Bible and it’s upon this evidence that we turn to for a few moments.

The Bible makes scientific claims that are supernatural. They are supernatural in that they were written centuries before scientists had any idea about them. There’s too many to write them all in this post but here are a few that will adequately show what I mean.

  1. Job 36:27-28 “He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain. The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits.”  This was written about 4300 years ago long before scientists discovered the very truth in this verse.
  2. Ecclesiastes 1:7 “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again.”  Solomon writes the words to Ecclesiastes roughly 950 BC or about 2700 years prior to scientists being able to prove the source of the world’s precipitation.
  3. Proverbs 6:6-8 ““Go the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Notice the fact that the writer Solomon refers to the worker ants in the feminine. Notice also the details about what the female ants do and how they work. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that scientists discovered that ALL worker ants are female and that the patterns of activity in this verse are accurate.
  4. Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  We are told that we are made from the earth. This was written thousands of years ago. Chemists only discovered in the past few hundred years that we have 59 elements that make up our bodies. Every single one of them can be found in the elements of the earth.
  5. Isaiah 40:22 ““It is He (God) who sits above the circle of the earth.” This was written about 700BC. It wasn’t proven scientifically until 230BC.
  6. Job 26:7 ““He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.”  Again this was written over 4000 years ago. Centuries before it was scientifically proven that the earth does indeed sit on nothing but empty space.

There are dozens more examples that could be given.  Again none of these in isolation proves anything. But as you start to take the evidences together, so far moral and science, you can see how a case for God is not only very credible but very likely.  As we get into more evidences the proof becomes even greater.

 

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Jump back to the previous post in this series…

To be continued…

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My Creator: Right and Wrong

Speaking in a TED Talk David Christian, who is the creator (notice the word I used there) of a university course called Big History, says

“Let’s wind the clock back 13.7 billion years ago to the beginning of time. Around us there is nothing. There’s not even time or space. Imagine the darkest emptiest thing you can and that’s where we are. Then suddenly, BAM a universe appears.  An entire universe.”


Really David? We are supposed to believe that absolutely nothing “existed” then all of a sudden an entire universe existed? This is not science, this is faith. It’s funny how Big Bang promoters love to push the science vs religion discussion saying that religion is not scientific. It seems clear that the big bang theory is far more faith based than the creation account.
As a believer in God the creator and a literal 6 day creation I find it remarkable that evolutionists use terms like “we know…” and “this is how it happened…” There is no possible way they could ever know since no one was there to record it.  There were no scientific experiments or tests done at the beginning of time that we can look back to and say, “Ah so that’s how it all started”.  In the end we all come to the same conclusion – my belief is based on faith after examining the evidence around me.

I respect the atheist who says that after examining the evidence as he sees it he has come to the conclusion there is no God but that he cannot prove his faith.  I don’t respect the atheist who says there is absolute proof that God does not exist. That belief is foolish and juvenile.

Let’s be honest Christian, we do not believe in God because there is 100% scientific proof that He exists. There isn’t.  We believe God exists because of evidence that includes science but goes far beyond it.  In fact we believe in God because of faith.  We can argue with people about our evidences (and they are necessary as we are challenged in scripture to be ready to defend our faith) but at the very heart of the discussion we must come the subject of faith.  Over the next several Mondays I’d like to share my personal evidence for My Creator. Some of these are non-scientific and non-biblical and some are.

 


Morality


 

This is a very troubling problem for the atheist. If you agree that there is no God and we are just a collection of cells with no moral base then you cannot accept any right or wrong in the world. Richard Dawkins says, “We live in a universe which has ‘no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” [1] William Provine of Cornell University agrees and writes, “There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.” [2]

Now leaving aside the Bible for a moment even the most basic preview of human life would be aghast at this belief.  Tell the young woman who was raped violently that there is no evil and no meaning to life. Tell the Jewish daughter whose parents were tortured and exterminated in the Holocaust that their life had no value and her pain is imaginary. Tell the families of the victims in 9/11 that it was just a big chemical reaction that caused those men to fly planes into the World Trade Centre and that animal instincts took over.

The problem the atheist has in getting 90% or so of the world to buy into this concept. You can’t remove a moral standard (such as God), preach that there is no morality and expect the world religions to crumble. That’s because at the heart of all of us there is a basic belief in morality. I find it interesting that the Bible says in Psalm 2, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” It’s not the mind that is the problem but the heart. Thomas Nagy, atheist professor at New York University is surprisingly honest when he says, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally, hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” [3] He has a heart problem not a head problem.

Now let’s come back to the Bible since this is my evidence for a creator.  The Bible’s view of morality is consistent in that it presents a God who establishes moral conduct. If there is a God who created us (and I believe there is) then it is entirely consistent to believe that right and wrong exists and that there is meaning to life. I don’t have to contradict what I already know in my heart is true. When I see evil in the world I have a solid basis for why that evil exists.

Finally the Bible gives an explanation to the meaning of life. God has told us that He created us to have an intimate and personal relationship with Him. He has created us in His own likeness (don’t mistake that to mean we are all gods) so that we might experience a life that is far beyond our physical existence.

So in conclusion the atheist cannot explain morality in their theories so they dismiss it and say it doesn’t exist. Well that is not something I (and most of the world) are ready to accept as a plausible explanation.  Faith has brought me to agree with God about His existence and morality.

 

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Jump to the next post in this series…

Sources:
1. Dawkins, R., River out of Eden, Weidenfeld and Nicolswi, Chapter 4, 1995.
2. Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1):9, 1994. 
3. Nagel, T., The Last Word, Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p. 130.

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Disciple Makers

Are you a disciple maker? Now don’t misunderstand my question. I did not ask, are you an evangelist?  The Lord Jesus in His last requests to His disciples gives a very simple command.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20.

What does it take to make a disciple? Well it takes a team. It takes some to plant the seed, some to water and some to harvest. And that’s just to the point of conversion. Then the real hard work begins. As new babies are nurtured, new believers need much care and nurturing. They need feeding, held and yes quite often their diapers changed.

So let me ask my original question in a slightly different way. Who are you discipling? Every one of us are to be a part of the team when it comes to discipling others. It’s not a job just for the elders or “older” believers. It’s something all of us should be doing all the time. So if you are not currently discipling someone then pray about it. Ask the Lord to show you who you could take on and mentor. Maybe it’s a new christian. Maybe it’s a young mother. Maybe it’s a teenager who needs a little help to make it through the tough high school years.

One of the fears that people have (and why they often don’t disciple) is that being a discipler will hold them accountable. It means they have to be an example. One myth about discipleship is that you have to be perfect. It’s just not true.  As you disciple you are constantly growing yourself. You will need to be vulnerable and open and real. That’s not easy for our natural pride to cope with. We like to always look good as if we have it all together.

My challenge (aimed at me first) is for us to be disciple makers. Let’s take up the torch to lead, train, teach and impact others. The church will be stronger for it. And so will you.

 

 

 

 

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The Fullness of God

An astounding truth is presented to us in the Word of God. Colossians 1:19 tells us…

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell”


And in Colossians 2:9 Paul goes on to say…

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”


To the Christian this makes sense even though we don’t quite fully grasp it. Jesus Christ is the fullness of God. Everything that Jesus did, said and thought on earth was in exact alignment with the Father and the Spirit. The Lord would say to His disciples, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”   Even Nicodemus recognized that Jesus was no ordinary man.

Now that we have the complete Scriptures we know that not only did Jesus claim to be God but He backed it up with signs and proofs so that we could believe it. We are also taught further about His deity by the apostles.  While the humanity of God is not something we can ever fully understand there is something that to me is even tougher to take in.  Listen to what Paul tells us he prays for in Ephesians 3:19…

“…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”


If it wasn’t written in God’s Word we would be cast out for even suggesting this could be possible. But not only does Paul suggest it but he goes on to explain it.  Brothers and sister WE can be filled with the fullness of God. WOW!! I know this week my mind is going to be wrestling with all that this truth means in my life but just to meditate on the magnitude of what God has done for us should cause us to worship Him.

Praise to the Lord who has done wonderful things for us. Only to Him be glory and majesty and praise!

 

 

 

 

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Ah the Emmys!

Last night celebrities from all over the entertainment business descended on the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles for the 64th Emmy Awards. The men wore their best tux and shiny shoes while the women competed for the nod as the most fashionably dressed. This is the event in which the best in television are praised for their efforts. It’s the highest award for anyone in a TV series.  One by one the stars climbed onto the stage to receive the ultimate prize while the audience cheered and applauded (well all of them except the losers). “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm lost again after five best drama actor nominations for his role as ad exec Don Draper. I guess there’s always next year.

I didn’t watch the ceremony but as I thought on the night that would crown the best of the best I couldn’t help but think about our prize as Christians.


Paul said in Pilippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

The best part about the prize that God gives is that every believer in Him can win it. Paul also exhorts us to run so that we may win the prize. As I think of the actors receiving the Emmys it’s obvious that they don’t achieve that amount of success by accident nor by lack of commitment. They spend hours and days and weeks and months and years perfecting their craft. So too in the Christian life we are compelled to do the same. Here are some verses that speak on this topic.

2 Timothy 2:15, “ Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval.”

1 Corinthians 9:25, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.”

The Lord told several parables about stewards and those who were entrusted with responsibilities. The servants who worked hard to increase the results were commended but the lazy servants were condemned. Let’s be active in His service, striving for the greatest prize of all and when we see Him face to face, His commendation will be of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

 

 

 

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Getting Creative with the Gospel

In the past 2 weekends I had the privilege of helping with 3 outreach events. All 3 were very different from each other and had different goals. What excited me about these events was how creative they were. There was no pulpit and no hymns sung. For two of the events a short gospel message was given.  I really value people with enthusiasm and creativity when it comes to spreading the good news. Here are the 3 events and what they were about. If you have some of your own to share please post them in the comments below.


Men’s Golf Tournament


This is a great event with usually around 30-36 men attending of which half are not saved. They come for a very good breakfast, hear a short 10 minute gospel presentation then play 18 holes of golf. We offer prizes as well. There are 3 great reasons why this event is a great idea.

  1. It’s very easy to organize.  It doesn’t take a lot of work to host this event. All you need is a speaker, a golf course, some donated prizes and some people to put on the food. We have a person who goes around many local business and asks for prizes. You would be amazed and what you will get: restaurant gift cards, oil changes, car washes, shirts, hats and all kinds of other great prizes.
  2. It’s almost no cost to the local church. Since the prizes are donated the only expenses are food and giving a gift to the speaker.  We usually find a course that is a good prize and just tack on a little to cover food so really there’s hardly any expense at all.
  3. Men will come. You mention golf to some guys and they sign up on the spot. They don’t care if they have to endure a 10 minute “religious talk”, they just want to play golf.  Having 18 guys sitting listening to the gospel is a tremendous thing.

So give it a shot and see what the Lord will do through this idea. Let me know if you need any help getting started.

 


A Cross Country Runner’s Race


This is a really great event. I was privileged to help out for the second year. It’s held at a Christian camp with 160 acres of land. There are 2 races: a 1km walk/run and a 5km run. This year we had 120 runners with about 60 in each. Maybe who come for the 5km are runners in other races but are surprised at how tough the race is since it covers many different kinds of terrain and slope. Some times they are running straight up a hill. Everyone is given a BBQ meal after and there’s lots of prizes. There’s a short gospel presentation as well.


Community BBQ and Carnival


Our local church has been running one of these events for a few years now and it’s a great time. The purpose is to meet families and introduce them to who we are and also our kids programs which range from JK to grade 12. We offer BBQ hot dogs and burgers along with chips, cookies and drink. We set up about 12-15 carnival games. We have done this event in 2 ways: free with no prizes and paid with prizes. Both are great options depending on your budget and resource restraints. We have a number of people who are floaters to strike up conversations with the parents and kids. Since we have done this for a number of years the people who come often know us by name and look forward to the event. We usually see new kids sign up for our programs and it’s a great way to connect with the parents.

So what is your church doing to reach the lost? We’d love to hear!!

 

 

 

 

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Why Are Friendships so Hard?

Yesterday we had a missionary from Kenya speak at our church. He shared from the Word and gave a short report on his work.  His subject was on relationships and how in Kenya building relationships is the most important thing.  He then used that as a way to present how God considers a relationship with us the most important thing as well. It got me thinking. Why is it that some relationships are so much tougher to maintain than others? What makes a good relationship? What makes me a good friend or a bad friend?  Here are a few thoughts on friendships.


1. Good friends show love


You would think that I wouldn’t have to list this here, but I believe this to be the essence of building strong relationships. As we grow in Christ, there ought to be an evident, tangible expression of love for others. If we look at the Lord as our perfect example, it was His love for us that sealed our relationship with him.  We sang in the Lord’s Supper yesterday that He cannot cease to love us. It’s not just that he told us He loved us but that he showed it. So in turn we must show our love for one another.


2. Good friends show concern


My mind thinks of one of my best friends Roy. We get together about once a month for breakfast and have great fellowship at the church we attend. One of the things I appreciate about him is that he is constantly checking up on me and asking how I’m doing. He goes out of his way to make sure he says hi  and to see how I am doing.  When we get together each month, we catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives. I so value that time we spend together.


3. Good friends play together


Ok this makes it sound like we are in the 2nd grade, but the point is that to build solid relationships there needs to be time spent just enjoying good company.  This could be an activity such as a sport, group games or just heading down to the local park and sitting chatting. One of the greatest aspects of my local church is that we do a lot of fun stuff together. We have games nights, picnics, BBQs and other fun times together. It keeps us close as we  have fun together.


4. Good friends eat together


This might seem similar the point above, but it’s not. There is something about eating with friends that takes on a different atmosphere. I believe it centers around talking. When we eat with others the main goal is to talk. That is often where lives are shared the most, hearts are opened and we see into each other’s lives.


5. Good friends open their homes to each other


I want to make a point here about hospitality. When I was young it was very common (several times a month) that we either had other believers in our home or went to other people’s home for fellowship. Almost always there was food (point 4), we would play some games (point 3) and often there was singing as well. I believe that hospitality has died out and that because of that not only are people’s homes closed, their hearts are too.  It’s time we got back to this much needed practice. It doesn’t have to be a big meal. Often we would have people over after an evening meeting and ask them to pick up some snacks on the way. They were very glad to do that and the evening revolved around the relationship, not how fancy the food was or how tidy the house was. Maybe it’s pride that gets in the way of asking others to come into our homes.


6. Good friends forgive each other


This is sooooooooooooooooooo important.  I put it last to emphasize how damaging it can be when a believer does not forgive others. It can divide families, churches and friendships. The Bible is clear that as much as Christ has forgiven us we MUST forgive others. What does it mean to forgive? It means to completely wipe away the wrong from our minds, hearts and actions. It essentially erases the wrong so that it never appears again. I have seen the damage of not forgiving and it’s not pretty. It’s time we laid down our pride and arrogance and reached out to those we have chosen not to forgive and mend the relationship. It’s not a choice, it’s what the Lord expects from us.

There are of course, many other aspects to friendships and relationship building. Whole books have been written on the subject.  These were just a few thoughts that came to mind as I listened to the subject being preached. Thank God for giving us a body of fellow believers to love, care for, have fun with, eat with, open our homes to and forgive when needed.  Let’s build stronger relationships and in doing so honor the Lord who built the greatest relationship of all by coming to be our Saviour.

 

 

 

 

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What Is Your Prize?

A record was broken today that 10 years ago many thought would never happen. Roger Federer has now been ranked a total of 287 weeks at the top of the Tennis world (not consecutively).  The previous record holder, Pete Sampras, was sitting at 286 weeks and that was to most tennis fans, untouchable. Just like so many records before, what seems an impossibility is soon left behind.  For Federer of course he plans to keep adding to those weeks at #1 and only time will tell where he finishes.  The reality is that no one can stay #1 forever no matter the sport.  The glory that comes with it (even well deserved) fades and someone else comes along to take the top honours.

It’s not like that in the Christian life. I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:25,All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” For the believer each one of us can obtain a prize that lasts forever. God has promised this. Paul says in Philippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

As I follow tennis it is clear that fans of one player are constantly comparing their favourite to others. For the Christian we should never get into the habit of comparing ourselves (or anyone for that matter) to others. Galatians 6:4 tells is, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”  Our focus must be on our own lives and service for the Lord.

So what is your prize? Are you training and striving for an eternal prize that will never fade or an earthly reward that is passing?

 

 

 

 

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Facebook and the Family

There’s no denying that Facebook is huge.  It has been a part of millions of people’s lives each and every day.  Because of its popularity many Christian parents are faced with tough choices. Do I allow my teenager access to Facebook?  What boundaries should I set? How can I effectively communicate the concerns I have about Facebook without being too controlling?

The group at Why We Web have been asked these questions and are offering a free 1 hour webinar to discuss some answers. The webinar is offered twice on Monday July 16 at 8pm EDT and Wednesday July 18 at 2pm EDT.  Space is limited so register early to ensure your spot by clicking one of the buttons below.

The main questions being discussed are:

  • Why do people use facebook?
  • What is appropriate content for families?
  • What settings do I need to set to make sure my family is safe?
  • How do I communicate with my family about Facebook?

 

 

 

 

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Social Media Made Easy – TweetDeck

There are a number of good tools out there to help you manage your social media. TweetDeck is one of the tools I use frequently. TweetDeck is an easy way to keep track of your accounts without having to log into each one. It’s like a central command centre for online social activities. The TweetDeck website says, “TweetDeck is your personal real-time browser, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more.”

Throught the day I use TweetDeck to handle my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. By creating lists for each of my accounts I don’t have to waste time reading through posts I don’t care about. TweetDeck prompts me when a person I follow or am friends with posts something and in a few seconds I can read the post and very quickly reply all within an easy to use interface.

TweetDeck is free and is a good option if you have multiple accounts to keep track of. One interesting tidbit. Twitter thought TweetDeck was so good they bought it for $40 million. Not bad for a piece of software. Other competing tools are Hootsuite, Seesmic and MetroTwit.

http://www.tweetdeck.com

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