Friday, October 31, 2008

The Substance of Faith

The etymology of the word “faith” commences circa 1250 and it meant "duty of fulfilling one's trust," and it derived from the Latin root word fied which essentially means "trust". Trust comes from the Old Norse word traust meaning confidence circa 1200. We use these words everyday, but sometimes we use them with a misconceived idea about them.

True faith should be built on trust and confidence in that which you have faith. We use faith/trust everyday. We have faith that brushing our teeth will reduce risk of cavities. We trust that our employer will supply our paycheck at the end of the pay period or else we would not be working for him. After repeatedly being rendered our paychecks we have confidence that we will continue to get reimbursed for the hours worked. We utilize faith, trust, and confidence in a myriad of ways everyday. However, our use of faith is not without reason. We have plenty of reasons to believe that brushing our teeth is advantageous. We have plenty of experiential reason to have confidence we will receive our due paycheck unless something gives us reason to cease having faith that we will receive our paycheck.

Why, then, when we step into the area of spirituality, do we not understand the use of faith and reason? Faith is not blind adherence to someone or something in the absence of evidence and reason. Faith is trust in someone or something based on the substance of the evidence that supports that faith. I have often observed a child leaping off the side of a pool into his father’s arms. The child has faith that daddy will catch him. He doesn’t absolutely know that nothing will prevent this from happening, but he knows daddy loves him and will protect him because daddy is that kind of person. A child like faith is not one of ignorance, but one of trust greater than many adults because adults have learned fear and that often rules their intellect more than their trust. To live a life not bound by fear and distrust is a wonderful freedom that can only come from being in the truth and love of God. Love, trust, faith all go hand in hand. Sure someone can put their trust in the wrong place; we see this happen all the time. But we also see those people who are so afraid that they trust no one and live a life bound to fear.

It is often said in Christian circles that it takes more faith to be an atheist because there is a greater leap to accept proof of a negative than proof of a positive. The only way you can know a negative is by knowing all things and being omniscient yourself. But the way you know a positive is by knowing that particular thing and not all things. I really don’t want to hear about unicorns and fairies in response to this statement. That doesn’t really address the matter. Nor am I using this an argument for God’s existence but more so an illustration of the leap of faith employed.

However, even in saying this it reaffirms the misuse of the word, faith. It isn’t really faith in the real sense of the word that is employed in believing in nothing, except maybe faith in one’s own intellect. It is a skepticism that leads to atheism, not really a faith. Faith and trust is absent, not because of lack of evidence, but because of skepticism. Atheists deny what they have not experienced even to the extent of discounting the experiences of others because they haven’t shared them.

The Christian puts his faith in God because he has come to know God is real, not as some would suggest, to come to know that God is real. Many think that faith is employed to posit God’s existence, but in reality it is employed after knowing God is real. An encounter with God doesn’t take faith, it’s the most real thing in the world when it happens and no one can shake that knowledge. It is then that faith rises for when you have come in contact with the living God you know that you know that He is real. Faith in Him can lead to deeper relationship with Him, but it is not a major factor in knowing He exists.

Proof that He is real is more an experiential matter than simply an intellectual matter. There is a plethora of intellectual arguments for and against His existence, but once you’ve encountered Him all arguments are secondary to the reality of that encounter.

I know a God who is in pursuit of humans with His love. He points to Himself in creation, in reason, in logic, in history, in revelation, in our emotions, in our desires, in our morality, in our creativity. He affirms who are we are and does not detract from who we are. The supernatural affirms and enhances the natural.

I am not merely asking that people accept only intellectual arguments for Christianity and join the club. I am suggesting that people can authentically truly experience the living God for themselves and come to know that Christianity is true. I don’t know God as a mere set of intellectual ideas and assumptions, I know him personally and relationally.

Faith isn’t something you muster up to believe in something unbelievable. It is the substance of trust in that which has become believable. I pray that you can find the way through the seas of uncertainty and set down your anchor into the firm foundation of truth that is knowable both cerebrally and experientially.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Heavenly Reality

Being in relationship with Jesus is about living a heavenly reality with Him now and in eternity. Eternity begins in our hearts when we enter fellowship with Jesus and continues after we pass from earth. Living a life with Jesus cannot be simplified to mere moral living. It’s about living out a new reality and being harbingers of the Kingdom of God. It’s about effecting earth with heaven. When heaven invades earth, miracles happen. When heaven touches earth, earth transforms to take on the reality of heaven. Living a life with Jesus opens up doors to the supernatural world that allows us to effectuate change upon and within this earth to truly bring the reality of heaven to earth.

Too often Christians give the impression that Jesus only saves us from hell and helps us live good moral lives. Too often, I hear atheists think this the epitome of Christianity. Christians mistakenly produce this erroneous idea. Most mean well, but you won’t find it in Scripture.

Life with Christ is tangibly experiential as well as logically sound. Science has been elevated way past it’s realm of expertise to delineate that there is nothing beyond the natural world. However if the natural world is all science can study then science is claiming to know something it cannot know. If it is true that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God or the supernatural world then that is because such evidence extends beyond the reaches of science.

Do we only know things by our minds? Do we not also employ our hearts, souls, and spirits in our quest for knowledge? Why do we elevate our minds so high that it trumps the rest of our being? Our reasoning isn’t so infallible as to be the end all way of attaining knowledge of the real. If we live by our heart and ignore our mind we are out of sync, yet if we live with our mind and ignore our heart and soul and emotions we are also out of balance.

Humans are spiritual and physical beings. We need both to be complete. If we ignore one and elevate the other we are out of kilter with reality. It is interesting to note, that only in Western civilization has atheism taken root. The only other place other than Europe and America/Canada where it has any life is in South Africa and only in predominately British communities. The rest of the world is teaming with spirituality and supernaturalism of all kinds. They have experienced that reality and atheism cannot take hold when there are so many tangible experiences of the spiritual world rampant in those societies.

That is the main reason why I could never be convinced of atheism. It’s not the compelling logical arguments that draw me to the Lord, though there are many sound arguments for His existence along with arguments to the contrary. It’s His presence that I have tangibly experienced and all the facets of my real relationship with Him that are impossible to deny. I haven’t just read the book written by the Lord, I’ve experienced its contents and I am pressing in to know more of Him and experience more of Him. It is because of this that I feel so compelled to help others come to know Him too. He is way too good not to share with the world.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Starting Point

Layer upon layer

Brick upon brick

Precept upon precept

Worldviews are established

If there is an errant starting place the rest of the structure will be faulty. The house built on the sand collapses in a storm. The house built upon the rock stands firm come what may. Regardless of the foundation the building will be built even if it is not long supported. Jesus used the analogy of a house upon sand and a house upon the rock. In His parable the house built upon the rock was the person whose foundation is Christ. The house built upon the sand was the person whose faith was in something else that was not a firm foundation of truth.

What I am getting at is that our first principals, our foundational beliefs about life, anchor all that follows even if that anchor is not secure. If the Judeo-Christian God is the foundation of all truth then it logically follows that all truth flows from that reference point. This means, science, history, morality, philosophy etc. all flow from the starting point of Him. He is the bedrock in which all else is supported.

If, instead, there is no god, then all there is is the natural world: the only way we can know it is to trust our own subjective reasoning being certain of nothing including science, history, morality, philosophy etc.

Either way everything hinges on the truth of the existence or non-existence of God. If the Judeo-Christian God is real then it is logical for all knowledge to be aligned with His truth. If He is not real and there is no God than all knowledge would need to bend to that reality. Or rather would be an extension of that reality. However, I think some great bending and distorting of reason and logic is taking place to support the philosophical position of the non-existence of God. Moreover, the foundations of reason and logic collapse when God is removed from the equation.

Jacques Derrida the famous postmodern philosopher writes about how all of language is meaningless signs with no signifiers if God doesn’t exist. He says that we cannot even be certain about lingual communication for we have no anchor for language if there is no God. Ironically he authored quite a few books. In one of his books he laments reason to be the one thing he can’t get around. He knows it should not exist in a world with no God, and yet, he can’t even reason that to be the case without employing reason. Just the same logically he sees that reason is not supported any better than language if there is no God. He said it is a conundrum he couldn’t get around.

In contrast C.S. Lewis wrote in Miracles, “It is thus still an open question whether each man’s reason exists absolutely on its own or whether it is the result of some (rational) cause – in fact, of some other Reason. That other Reason might conceivably be found to depend on a third, and so on; it would not matter how far this process was carried provided you found Reason coming from Reason at each stage. It is only when you are asked to believe in Reason coming from non-Reason that you must cry Halt, for, if you don’t all thought is discredited. It is therefore obvious that sooner or later you must admit a Reason which exists absolutely on its own.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Freedom To Righteousness

Humanity typically looks at good with reference to evil. We see some acts as evil and others as good. We judge subjectively. We usually judge others harsher than we judge ourselves. We think we are good because we haven’t stolen anything or murdered anybody. Or we think we are good because of what we do, aiding our neighbor, raising our kids, loving our spouses, or giving food to a hungry person. But at the same time we are doing things that are not good all the time. We see good as the opposite of evil or evil as the opposite of good. But we don’t understand “good” without reference to evil. Even in our own hearts evil is always lurking. We are always comparing and contrasting and justifying ourselves. We find even the most giving people in the world have dark nights of the soul with the published diary writings of Mother Theresa. Yet we still reach for righteousness. We yearn for world peace. We want everyone to get along with everyone as if fighting, murder, and violence isn’t supposed to happen. We see these actions as somehow out of kilter with what “ought” to be. How can this be if at the same time we deny that there is a standard of what “ought” to be outside of our own subjectivity?

I’ve been watching the popular TV show Heroes. The characters are becoming duplicitous. The “good” ones are becoming corrupted in their fight for justice and the “evil” ones are showing compassion and integrity for the first time on the show. The lines are being blurred. The struggle in the hearts of man is coming to the forefront. Corrupted morality and compassionate acts of kindness are rising up in the same individuals. How can they determine the right path when their own hearts are so duplicitous?

Humans are only left with subjectivity when we try and figure out how to live in a way that is good. Some would say that’s all we have and we must make the best of it. But what if that’s not all we have? What if there is a better way than the human way? What if we can enter righteousness to where we can have our eyes opened to pure perfect goodness without contrast to evil?

The biblical moral code is quiet extensive. The law that was given to Moses was in effect when Jesus walked the earth. He encountered many people who were living out the law, or at least claiming to be, but whose hearts were corrupt making them unable to keep the law. Jesus said the law is fulfilled by loving God and loving people. He said that these were the two greatest commandments that fulfilled all law. The law was given to show us that we cannot keep it without His eternal love working through us. The focus was never to control people to conform to God’s law, but to free people to conform to righteousness personified in Christ Jesus. When we live in our corrupted nature we are not free. When we live in oneness with His nature we are the most free. Jesus said he came to give us life so that we could live life more abundantly. We can be transformed to righteousness and be free of all the weight of corruptness of heart, mind, and soul. The chains that bind us to thinking naturally, to evil, to sin, to corruption of the heart, and the bondages of addictions are broken by the cross of Christ. There’s more, Christ resurrected making it possible to live life a new – to live like Him.

To often the Church has tried to control people to live a certain way instead of simply leading people to Christ who doesn’t need us to put rules on people. Christ transforming power is more than sufficient to bring about righteousness in a person, to change hearts, to renew minds. Moreover fear ought never to be employed in sharing about Christ. Jesus didn’t invoke fear of punishment, penalty, or hell. He lived the truth He personified, being himself the example of life properly aligned with God. He came to point us to the way to life, not to bring condemnation and judgment. The world was already living in that by their own corruption. He came to free them from that way of living. He came to free them from guilt, condemnation, judgment. He came to raise us up to be heirs with Him in all things.

Monday, October 20, 2008

True Freedom

Does a fish in a fish tank have true freedom? It may not know its habitat is not natural. It has water and food. But is it free? In the Pixar movie Finding Nemo, Nemo gets plucked from the ocean and sold to a dentist with a fish tank full of exotic fish. Nemo, having known freedom, is now trapped with these other fish. His situation worsens when he is to be sold to a spoiled child that would cause the demise of Nemo. His fellow captive fish aid him in obtaining his freedom.

Errant worldviews can make one as trapped as a fish in a fish tank. People can think they have freedom and swim all around enjoying life in a tank. Or they can bust out of their unnatural habitat and truly taste freedom. If Christianity is such a tank of entrapment then I am not free, but if Christianity is the river of life and I am in that river I am the most free. The more I become transformed to the proper habitat of life the freer I become.

We all need to test the walls of our worldview to see if it is entrapping us or truly freeing us. Had Nemo not been endanger of being given to the child he may have lived a happy life in the controlled environment of the tank. But he would have missed the exciting freeing life of the ocean where he belonged. He also grieved the loss of his father for he was now separated from him in his tank while his father was free in the ocean. However his father came to save him, risking his own freedom and life for that of his son’s. His father didn’t stop pursuing him even though they were an ocean apart.

The Bible says truth sets us free. Living in truth will always be a greater freedom than living outside truth. No one can fully get outside of truth for we all live in the real world. But we can live in the false habitat like a fish in a fish tank or we can live in the real habitat that we were designed to live in.

Some of us are fish in fish tanks. Others are fish out of water altogether. But let us strive to be the ones that are not content with that sort of life and who want to experience truth to its fullness.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Brief Overview of the Evidence of the Resurrection

Historians are in consensus that Jesus died by crucifixion. The great debate surrounds his resurrection from the dead. Christianity hinges on this great truth for if Christ did not rise from the dead, all of Christianity is in vain. But if it is true that He did indeed rise from the dead all of the amazing claims of Christianity must be true and if true we must examine what that means for our lives.

It is not difficult to find conclusive evidence that Jesus did rise from the dead.

Empty Tomb: The tomb was indeed empty. If the body was still in the tomb the Roman Soldiers would simply have produced the body and all the disciples claims would have ceased right there on the spot. Instead, the Romans accused the disciples of stealing the body.

Torture/Death: We can be certain the disciples did not steal the body for they endured torture for the message they proclaimed and eventually gruesome death. Consequently, they had nothing to gain by false testimony concerning Jesus Resurrection. It can therefore be determined that the disciples believed Jesus had risen and had not stolen the body. People will die for a sincerely held belief, but no one dies for something they know to be a lie. The disciples were in a unique position to know the truth and had nothing to gain by lying.

Embarrassing Testimony: When someone is fabricating a story they always make it sound as good as possible. First century women were not seen as credible sources. They could not even testify in court. However, the Gospels recount that it was women who first brought back the news of the empty tomb and that Christ had risen. Only a true recounting of an event would include embarrassing information that could harm the story rather than help it.

Eyewitness: There are early oral creeds that date back to within three years of the Resurrection that tell of Christ being raised from the dead. Also all the disciples were eyewitnesses to this truth. Also the first church began in Jerusalem. It would not have flourished there unless the people trusted the plethora of living witnesses of the ministry and Resurrection of Christ. Indeed, many of the members of the first church would have been eye witnesses themselves.

Enemy Testimony: Saul of Tarsus, a Jew, was a staunch enemy of the church even killing Christians. However, one day the Resurrected Jesus showed up to him and he, with the new name of Paul, became a follower of Christ and an apostle to the Church. He wrote a third of the New Testament. Only an experience with the truth could change such an opponent to a proponent of Christ.

The evidence for the Resurrection of Christ is far more extensive than the basic overview above, but it is easy to see that it demands thought and if believed it demands that one really think about the ramifications of such a belief.

C.S. Lewis wrote: "I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God." That is one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Therefore, Jesus is either a Liar, a Lunatic, or He is Lord. There are no other options. If he did rise from the dead as the evidence suggests He didn't lie, nor was He a lunatic. That only leaves one option. He is Lord.

Recommended Reading:

The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus by Mike Licona
Paul Meets Muhammad: Resurrection Debate by Mike Licona
The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Theology: The Triune God

God’s triune nature is an essential part of who God is and how He relates to man. All of God is eternal. Every attribute, every nature, every part of His being is eternal. Scripture proclaims in Jeremiah 10:10 “But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King.” Also consider, Habakkuk 3:6, “His ways are eternal.”

When we speak of God the Father, the first person of the Trinity , we are speaking of an eternal Father. Therefore, for God to be a Father to man, He must first have always been a Father by His eternal nature. He was a Father before creation to the eternal Son, Jesus. If God became a Father because He created then He would have become something He had not been. This is impossible. For God never changes for He is never lacking anything. He has always been perfect in His eternalness. He spoke a great reality when He told Moses that His name is “I AM.” He spoke of His eternality, His completeness. Thus, for God to be a Father, He has always had a Son who was of the same substance of Himself, being fully God. The Son had to also be eternally the Son. He didn’t gain Son status, for He always existed as the Son of God. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “before Abraham was born, I Am” (John 8:58). If one denies the eternal God nature of the Son, then the Father nature of God is denied as well. One cannot exist without the other. John 17:24 says that God loved Jesus before the creation of the world. The Holy Spirit is also eternally binding the love of God to the love of the Son and is our Counselor, because He has eternally been thus. Romans 5:5 reads “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

To break this down in a natural analogy, man gains his identity in relation to other people. A father becomes a father when he has a child. A wife becomes a wife when she gains that identity in relation or in reference to having a husband. Without a husband she is not a wife. Without a child, a person is not a parent. A human woman, contrary to popular sentiment, does not become a mother because she loves her pet like a child. Her pet is different from her and not her offspring. God did not become a father of mankind because He created mankind. He always is a Father because He always has a Son. He is a Father to mankind because He is first a Father to the Son of God.

God is a personal God because He has relationship within the Trinity. He doesn’t gain His personal nature from His creation. If there is no interpersonal God being such as the Christian God, there can be no personal God to creation. In fact, if God was this cosmic static entity with no persons of the Trinity He could not be self-existing. He would then not even be God at all for He would need something else outside Himself to sustain His identity. The finite creation cannot lend the framework to support an infinite God. God’s identity has to be secure before creation or separate from creation. He must be self-referencing. He must be His own identity framework. Thus any religion that posits a non-relational God cannot logically support the existence of God. Moreover polytheism fails to be a foundational system of belief for each of the many gods would have to be finite for you cannot have more than one all powerful God. It isn’t logically possible. Thus multiplicity of gods lends itself to finiteness of gods and that is not an adequate foundation for they would be in need of a self-evident eternal God themselves.

In conclusion, the nature of God being: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, is essential belief about who God is and how we can have a personal relationship with Him. For without His personal nature within the Trinity there would be no personal relationship between Him and all creation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Real Christianity

Many of the contentions I have encountered people having with Christianity have to do more with the abuses of it than with its actual reality. The Church throughout history has produced much injustice and oppression that are far from the truths of the Gospel message. If the abuses of religion and the rules and laws of oppression were in fact true Christianity there would be good cause to run the other way. Often people run from corruption to the opposite extreme to avoid the problem, yet they avoid truth in the process.

Christianity pure and simple is about being a follower of Christ. Jesus is our example for life and ministry. Anything more or less than that is not real Christianity. So the real issue is who is this Jesus? Is he a mere mortal who was a good philosopher on par with Socrates or is he something more?

Is living like Christ really so dangerous for society? Jesus said to love your enemies. He said to do good to those who do wrong to you. He came to free those in bondage, give hope to the hopeless, bind up the broken hearted. He healed hearts, minds, and bodies. His revolution was one of the heart. He came to bring life where there was death. To bring healing where there was sickness. To bring truth where there was falsehood. He said that His Kingdom was not of this world, but it was found in righteousness, peace, and joy.

The Church has misrepresented Him to the world. Christians misrepresent Him to the world. Not all of the Church, not all Christians has done this. However, it’s the abuses that are often illuminated.

Can we not look past man to examine the truth claims of Christ? I keep hearing people say that there is no evidence pointing even to a man named Jesus teaching disciples along the shores of Galilee being followed by masses of people, performing miracles, dying by crucifixion, leaving an empty tomb, and appearing to His disciples alive and well. I hear the claims, but yet I’ve read and studied so much information that says otherwise. I’ve read the stories of atheists who set off on journeys to disprove the claims of Christ only coming up with overwhelming evidence that Christ is the Son of God.

Is it really a matter of a lack of evidence or is it something else? Is it maybe fear of being a part of something that seems to be full of hypocrisy and oppression? I agree that some of Christianity, even today, fits the bill of what its antagonist claim. However, there are those who are not a part of such a structure and they are living supernatural lives that shine forth the truth of a living God. All who are in Christ make up the Church, but not all who attend church and claim to know Him are in Christ. There are those who have been in church for years and yet don’t know God personally. That’s not something I can judge for another, but I have heard the testimonies of those who have come from that into really knowing Him. Then there are those who do know Him and don’t live like it. And there are those who know Him and have never matured in Him for various reasons. And there are all of us who are imperfect and yet striving in Him to be more like Him and to know Him more relationally and intellectually.

Just the same, let us not focus on man’s successes or failures in following Christ, but on Christ Himself. Everything rises or falls with the validity or invalidity of this man named Jesus. He is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. He cannot be just a good man. He cannot be dismissed as never having existed. History records his having lived. Jesus asked His disciples “who do you say that I am?” That is the question for each of us as well. You might not be in a place to answer that question yet, or maybe you need to re-examine your answer. Let us examine honestly who is this Jesus?

The Historicity of Jesus

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Reality of Desire

Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud were huge proponents of atheism in the early part of the Modern Era. Karl Marx spoke of religion as the “opium of the people.” He alleged that the need for religion derived from socioeconomic problems and if these problems were alleviated religion would no longer be a need of the people. His proposal, as most know, created communism as the solution. He proposed that a class-less society would fix the problem and create a utopia. History records a tragic bloody result of his philosophy.

Freud on the other hand decried religion as being a result of a psychological need to project one’s childhood father relationship to a God being as an adult. In contrast, Freud had a horrible experience with his own father and yet he never developed any philosophy concerning a psychological reason for his denial of God.

Both Marx and Freud agreed that humanity had a deep desire for God. Marx linked it to economic injustice and thought that government leaders could enact the change to end the need for God. Freud thought that we would evolve past our need for God as we matured as humans and that we would see God is dead and we have killed him by rising above such childish fantasies.

However, here we are in the year 2008 and most of the planet still seeks to fill their deepest need for God and many seek to fill that need by various world religions. Christianity has a unique claim that God came down to earth as a man, the Son of God, and paid the debt of sin for us so that the way to Him is Christ and not by any penance, works, religions, mantras, rituals etc. He is the answer to our deepest need. He appeared in history, had a lineage, in a time and place that can all be verified. Even these men who are so famous for their denial of Him acknowledged the need of humanity to know Him. I don’t think there are valid needs without valid fulfillments. If you are hungry you can eat. If you are thirsty you can drink. If you are tired you can sleep. If you desire to fill your soul you can do that too, with the only One who can satisfy. There are drinks that won’t quench thirst and there are foods that won’t satisfy hunger, likewise there are religions that won’t meet the needs of the soul and there is Christ who can and will. The awesome think about finding Christ is that you can still enjoy the desire and have that desire filled at the same time. It’s as if you are drinking from the best water imaginable that isn’t to quench your natural thirst, but the thirst of your soul. Jesus said of Himself that He is that living water.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Can't Help But Believe In God

I can’t not believe in God. My life has been inseparable with His for as long as I can remember. Somewhere around the age of 15, my belief in Jesus transformed from childhood obedience to an adult reality. Most of my life, my relationship with Christ has been one of knowing Him not one of simply believing things regarding Him. In high school I began to study a little about the evidences for the claims of the Bible. However, in college I found myself surrounded by much opposition to my worldview. I had professors who used their classroom as a place to promote their worldview more so than the subject they were paid to teach. I was faced with English and History professors who did not believe in facts, absolute truth, and the knowability of history. Many of the worldviews I was being exposed to were postmodern and pluralistic in nature. Some professors lamented against Christianity and some against any meta-narrative construct. Most denied there was any true way of looking at the world. All of this drove me to want to know more about the evidences, logic, and reason supporting the Bible as well as to know more about the ins and outs of other worldviews. Throughout my college years and beyond I consumed books, DVD’s, CD’s, attended conferences, and sought to interact with real people who believed things differently from me. I do this so that I can learn and to communicate what I learn to others to hopefully be of aid to those who are searching.

I have fed my intellectual foundation of my belief in the Christian God for over ten years. However, in the last few years my experiential relationship with the Lord has grown by leaps and bounds.

I have become experientially and intellectually aware of the supernatural aspect of my faith like never before. I have tangibly felt the presence of God upon me on multiple occasions. I have tangibly felt His power surging through me like an electrical charge of sorts. I have reached out to touch another and transferred this manifestation of His power to them by the laying on of hands. The first time I experienced sharing it, it was unintentional, I merely stumbled and touched another to steady myself and they felt the power of God enter them from where my hand touched and spread throughout their body. I have experienced instant healing of a severe sinus and upper respiratory infection upon receiving prayer. I literally went from hacking up a lung of asthmatic proportions to feeling the heavy congestion leave my lungs to where I could breath deeply and freely through my lungs and sinuses. The infection that had plagued me for days on end left in an instant through the power of God, which I also felt upon me at the time of healing.

I have prayed for a woman with glaucoma and cataracts clouding her eyes and saw them clearing before my eyes as she shouted that she could begin to see me and my husband standing before her. I have prayed for a woman with partial deafness and not only was her hearing restored, her friend told me that she too felt the healing in her ear even though she had no problems with her ears. She felt the experience of her friend.

I have had many people who I had never met come and tell me things about myself impossible for them to know save God telling them on many different occasions. For example, I had a girl walk up to me recently, at an event I was attending, who I didn’t know and tell me I loved to write and that God had given me a passion for writing that He wanted me to use for Him. That’s the third time I have been told that from someone I had never seen before and who knew nothing about me.

Everything my husband and I are doing in our lives right now is a direct result of doing what God has shown us to do. Everything from the church we started last year to the place we live, and our employment choices are a direct result of hearing from God. The church was birthed out of a dream from God my husband had one night that was confirmed by many independent sources who did not know us and some who did. Over the last year prophetic words, dreams, impressions and other amazing revelatory things have continued to confirm that we are doing what God has called us to do. Moreover, things are happening in our ministry that is of an incredible nature. Some of the divine connections that are taking place are blowing our minds. God is giving people in another country visions about our ministry and gave them knowledge of how to contact us (our website is not in the search engines – we’ve looked). The e-mails that are coming forth from the other country are testimonies of the goodness of the Lord. The goodness and reality of God is abundant and evident in my life in such a way I cannot conceive of His absence.

If Christ is not the Son of God and if the Bible is merely a book of fairytales, I must be living in a fairytale story and should be confined to a mental institution. I am seeing the reality of Scripture in my life and in the lives of countless others in amazing ways.

I hope by my sharing this, you will see why I desire to write about the God I love because He is too overwhelmingly real and good to keep to myself. I believe being connected to Him in a real tangible relationship through Jesus is the way to transform the world to a place that reflects the goodness of heaven instead of the corruption of sin. The Kingdom of God is not about what happens in the walls of a church, but the reality of transforming earth to the truths of heaven. Embarking on a journey with God in bringing His Kingdom to earth is an incredible adventure of a lifetime and beyond.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A World In Need of God

In the latest Superman movie, Louis Lane wins the Pulitzer Prize for her article entitled “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” Alas, Superman returns and sweeps her off her feet, literally, lifting her up to the stars where he speaks to her about the world he hears crying for a Superman.

Likewise books are hitting the best seller list explaining to the world why we don’t need God. Do we truly live in a world that does not need God? Do we have the bird’s eye view of all things to know that there is nothing that transcends nature? I think it evident that the world needs God. Does the need mean that He is or that we are merely desperate thinkers desiring the impossible? Are we merely looking for help from a loving God instead of picking ourselves up by our boot straps and making the best of life?

Some see a life lived in service to an invisible God as a crutch or wishful thinking best left to childhood. Would a visible God be more comforting? Would it be better that we could quantify and measure Him scientifically. Is that really the sort of God one would expect?

Others see a life lived for God as one lived in fear of retribution from a vindictive God. They think because of the doctrine of hell, that it’s all about self preservation to love God and no God that would require such devotion is worthy of it.

We had the world given to us literally in the beginning with full freedom to live in truth in the protective boundaries of His love. We were given a world where we lived with Him and walked with Him in real communion. Yet we thought we could do it better and take the reigns of our own life and we used our freedom to step outside of the boundaries of truth and it set humanity on a course away from God. Still God pursued us with His love and still He provided a FREE way of reconciliation and redemption through Jesus Christ paying our debt to justice Himself. God took off His robe of judgment and stepped down becoming one with sin and took the sentence upon Himself for all mankind. The door to Him is Jesus Christ. The choice is still ours: we can still freely live life opposed to Him or we can enter into true freedom and live life to its fullest in Him.

Just as Superman gains fullness of life and strength from the natural sun, man is made to gain life and strength and all that is good from the Son of God. We are invited into a relationship with God freely, not by works, not by ritual, not by magic words, but by a real tangible life giving relationship with our Creator. The world does need God. And He is available for the world in need. The question is will we acknowledge our need and stop trying to live life as if man were the measure of all things and start life with God being the center of our life?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Atheism: A History

“Atheist” was once a term levied against Christians for it was used to mean one who didn’t ascribe to the Roman gods or the religion of the Roman emperor. Thus Christians who held to belief in one God versus the polytheism of the Romans were accused of being atheists. It is ironic in light of how atheists and Christians are on opposite spectrums in worldview thinking today. Atheism as a philosophy of the non-existence of God came about much later in history. Purportedly it began as a worldview foundation assault to weaken the Church in Western civilization during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era. The world was fighting the Church organization through politics, military attacks, and internally through the Reformation. However, atheism began to take shape in response to the oppressive nature of the Church of that era. Just the same, it was still not a total disregard for belief in God for its proponents only sought to change the nature of the Church’s involvement in society verses eradicating it all together. In time though atheism began to take shape in elite philosophical circles and a worldview began to develop that separated itself entirely from Christianity. Many philosophers, writers, and artist began to depict a world without God, without absolutes, without God based morality. Atheism was birthed.

To be Continued.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What's Everyone Searching For?

The world is full of religion. Every where you look someone is worshiping something. There are the major religions like Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. The New Age movement is widespread as is Wicca. Thousands of cults exist in the world that are subsets of some of the larger belief systems that have broken off to do their own thing. What truly explains the plethora of religions in the world? Atheists argue that none of them are true for there is nothing beyond nature. What is everyone looking for then? Why all the interest in a world beyond nature if none exists?

Would it not make more since that there is something out there that explains our natural world better than naturalism? Could it be that everyone is looking for something because something exists to be known? It is far more plausible that one truth exist and all else is a distortion of that one truth then that there is nothing to know beyond nature.

Atheists think it arrogant for a person to claim one truth over all other possibilities. However, I have never met an atheist pluralist. Atheists typically see all religions as absurd and thus by default they believe in nothing. That seems to me to be a belief in one way of thinking opposed to all others. Believing in nothing, they claim that they have nothing to prove whereas those who believe in something have the burden of proving something. They claim no one can know anything for certain. But are they certain of that? If so, they exempt themselves and are thus the only people on the planet who can claim certainty. If not exempt and they are uncertain that atheism is the way of things then they use faith to bridge the gap between what they can know and what they accept as truth.

To me, belief in nothing, explains nothing. Even most atheists if not all atheists at one time in their lives did seek to know God. I continually hear atheists claiming to be de-converted Christians. They were seeking to know God, but found only religion and left it behind to embrace atheism.

Religion is not what knowing God is about. Some of Christianity in some circles has become only about following the rules and doing church. It has become devoid of the reality of the Kingdom of God. If this is what you experienced as Christianity you have been cheated. Religion is man trying to find God man’s way instead of God’s way. Man’s way is about doing good works to earn God’s favor, as is evident in all religions. God’s way is about God paying the debt of sin for man Himself and extending an open door to coming into relationship with Him and having all our sins forgiven through Jesus. All He asks is that we step through the door of Jesus Christ. He made the way; He revealed the way to man, and He waits patiently for man to enter the way. Once man steps through that door by trusting in Jesus Christ a whole new world awaits that’s called the Kingdom of God.