Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Note To My Readers

Hey everyone, I won't be able to respond to comments for a few days. But something is on my mind and I have a few minutes to share it. This isn't an apologetic about anything, I just wanted to let you guys know, those of you that are atheists/agnostics, that I appreciate you all. (I appreciate the rest of you too, but this is a note to the atheists) Sometimes when people ask me about my writing and I mention by blog I talk about you guys. I tell other Christians that you "guys"(CyberKitten, Mike, BoomSlang, and others who pop over every now and then, as well as GTC) are looking for reality, authenticity, something more than tired old apologetics. If this Jesus, exists, you want hard evidence that you can see, taste, touch, feel, know, be sure of, etc. I tell them that I like that about you all and that you are right to ask for demonstration of this truth claim. I like your commitment to intellectual things as well as your desire for reality -- the really real. You don't want deception, lies, fabrications, false faith, empty promises, and religion. None of that worries me about you guys, it actually tells me that you will accept what can be shown to be true, but not by empty or persuasive words, but by real hard evidence.

I was out in the mall tonight with a guy from California and I saw people feel God for the first time. I saw a guy who didn't want to come near us when we prayed for two girls who were amazed by what they were experiencing come and track us down in the mall. He came up to us and said I don't believe in this, but if you show me something real I'll believe. The pastor I was with asked him to stretch out his hands and promised he wouldn't even touch him. He placed his hands about six inches above the young man's hands. I watched as the guy swayed a little on his feet and said he felt something he couldn't seem to describe. Then he said again that even though he felt something he doesn't really believe in this. He then said I have a headache right now. The guy from CA without touching him spoke to his head to be healed and it was. He said it the pain was gone. He thanked the guy and headed off with his friends and that was it. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he knew something happened.

I started thinking of you guys and I started thinking that if you really did experience for yourself Jesus you would know the reality of what I have been speaking about. However, I don't know how to help with that over cyberspace. Anyway, I'm not crafting a post, but just writing out what I'm thinking at the moment. I just really wanted to tell you that I appreciate you all letting me see into your world and taking the time out of your day to talk to me even though I say things that sound crazy and ridiculous right now. And I just wanted you all to know that I always speak well of you to my Christian friends and I consider you friends and not foe. Take care. Have a great week and I'll resume answering any comments once I get more free time.

I do try to answer comments in a way as if I am answering questions and not as if I am debating or arguing with any of you, I really don't want to even interact with people on an arguing level or debating level and if I ever sound like that I apologize because that's not who I am. It's who I was in the past, years ago, but it's not me now. I'm just a person who is really excited about God and who loves to write and God is who I write about.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Than A System of Belief

I wonder sometimes if the reality of what I am trying to convey translates as more than a system of belief. I do make an incredible claim, or rather, accept an incredible claim. God incarnated Himself and walked the earth 2000 years ago as a man. The man, Jesus, who is both fully man and fully God, being Himself the eternal Son of God, lived amongst men teaching and performing miracles. He was crucified and buried in a tomb. Three days later, He arose from the dead, appearing to the disciples and 500 other witnesses leaving behind an empty tomb. Forty days later, He ascended bodily to heaven, for as He had descended from heaven, He must also ascend. Just as God once dwelt in a Tabernacle in the Ark of the Covenant, He dwelt in bodily form in the man called Jesus, and now He dwells with each of us who invite Him as Lord and Savior.

The nature of what I speak of isn’t just a proposition of a different way to see the world. It’s a proposition that this is really real and knowable. If I were merely advocating a set of doctrines, or dogma, as what everyone ought to believe there would be no way to prove them as better than another view of the world. However, what I am talking about, while a worldview, is more than a worldview, it is something one can experience as true.

The Bible isn’t a book designed to be dogmatically adhered to, but a book designed to point to something far greater than itself. If one reads it as only pointing to its contents as the end all of truth, one misses the point of the whole book. It is a story that points to a Story. It is a book that points to the Author. It is a narrative of the Narrator.

There is a scene in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where these children are in a bedroom talking about the land of Narnia. As the two children who have been to Narnia explains it to the third child who disbelieves them they notice the painting on the wall has a ship very much like the ships in Narnia. They see the ship moving and the feel the moist ocean breeze. Looking closer they are swept into the world of Narnia and embark on an adventure on the high seas. The picture wasn’t just a picture of a ship as it was pointing to something greater than itself; a real ship, in a real place, with a real adventure.

Some will only see the Bible as a book of information; some will see it as factual information and others as myth while still sharing the commonality of it being simply informative. Others, however, have experienced it coming alive. Something takes hold in their being and they realize there is something more than information there is something greater being revealed. Then they will see there is another world to explore and they can find their place in the story for the story is more real then anything they have experienced. Moreover, this story doesn’t negate the world they were living in for it enhances it. It’s like seeing the world in HD for the first time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Breath of Life: Spirit

I said I would do a post on the nature of what is a “spirit.” To do so I am going to use Scripture and I am going to talk about it from the Christian perspective. I am not versed in what other religions say about the topic. I’m just providing a framework of what Christians believe about the topic, nothing more, maybe less because I’m not going to be exhaustive by any means.

Let’s start at the beginning. As the story goes, God created Adam and breathed the breath of life into him. Genesis 2: 7 reads “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

This distinction was not made in the creation of animals. They were created alive, but not given the breath of life as was Adam. And so from Adam to Even and on to all men the breath of life is a part of our existence.

Now the point of this is the “breath of life.” This is where humans got a spirit. The Greek word for “spirit” literally means “breath.” Genesis tells us that we were created in the image of God. John 4:24 tells us God is spirit. But we also know that God took physical form in Jesus who is the exact representation of the Father.

Man was created physical and given a spiritual dynamic when God breathed His breath into man giving Him life. John 6:63 puts it this way “The Spirit (meaning the Spirit of God) gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.”

Life doesn’t come from our flesh it comes from His Spirit and flows to our spirit which He gave us. Psalm 146:4 reads, “When their spirit departs, they return to the ground.” Meaning when the essence of our life, our non-physical being, leaves our body returns to the dust. For the body is not the essence of who we are. Who we are continues after the body is gone. Ecclesiastes 12:7 states “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”

David writes in Psalm 31:5 “into your hands I commit my spirit, redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” And in Psalm 51:10 we read “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Proverbs 20:27 reads, “the lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of man; it searches out his inmost being.” God is very much concerned with the state of our spirit for a redeemed spirit connected with Him gives us life. Life, more than physically being alive like an animal, but having a restored contact with Someone greater than ourselves that is full of this kind of supernatural life.

God calls for us to connect with Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24). This means our spirit can connect with His Spirit and we connect with Him in truth, it’s not just a mystical symbolic faith experience, it’s a real tangible encounter that is true.

We were designed to live fully connected in His spirit, but sin severed that connection and made connecting difficult. Our spirituality is still very much a part of our being, but we it’s like the light went out and that part of us is dark and unused or sometimes ill-used. We need to be spiritually and truly connected to the ultimate life giving source in order to have a resurrected spirit that enables us to connect to God in spirit and in truth.

Let me say once more, this is the story of our spirit and His Spirit according to the Biblical narrative. A story I am very much invested in and living out. But the above content isn’t an apologetic for that story, it is simply the story. I find we need to know what we are talking about before we can delve deeper into it. I said I would provide more information from Scripture regarding “the spirit” I believe is inside each of us and here is my first attempt to make good on my word.

I welcome clarifying questions and ask that we start there on this subject.