Well, apparently you should...
If God told you to kill your son, would you do it? Maybe you don't have a son, what if He told you to kill your mom? Would you do it?
Well, apparently you should...
I was at a Denny's last Friday with a friend and we got to talking about the tip. That's when I shared something I had heard before. If you go out to eat at a restaurant and you aren't going to tip well, then don't you dare pray before you eat your food! One of my favorite pastors, Mark Driscoll, said that. Do you know why? He says that Jesus is generous and loving and the church should be too. And when the waiter sees you bow your head to pray before you eat, he will connect the dots and realize you are a Christian. Then when he gets no tip or a lousy single dollar tip from you, he will connect the dots (consciously or subconsciously) that Christians are selfish jerks.
Your votes are in and today's theology topic will be taking another look at the evidence we have for God's existence. Up until now, we have been covering general arguments that show that some sort of divine being or beings do exist. Today, we are going to take a look at evidence that takes that one step further and shows that the God of the Bible is real. We will be looking at many of the fulfilled prophecies within the Bible.
Declaring the Future is Strong Evidence
If I told you that you were going to trip today and fracture your left femur, you would probably look at me strangely. But what if it then happened? Maybe at first you'd be in too much pain to think straight. But after the doctors had done their thing and you were laying in a hospital bed with a big cast on your leg, it would hit you. Mark told me this was going to happen! What would you do? How would you feel? What would you want to say to me?
I've been taking the children at my church through a new series called, "Who's Who in the Bible?" We started a few weeks ago way in the beginning with Adam and Eve. I thought I'd share a little bit of that with you.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day. -- Genesis 1:31
We've heard the story before right? In the beginning, God spoke everything into being. And it was good. The world was perfect. There was no sin. No pain. Better yet, there was perfect relationship with God. Adam had it made and the future was looking bright!
Have you seen this video that's been blowing up on Youtube? If not, take a look.
This is a very common view among more and more Christians today. Religion is a bad thing that is all about working your way to God and earning God's favor and love. Religion is all about following rules so that you look good on Sunday. Religion is all about what happens in the church and doesn't care about the rest of the world. Religion judges everyone else while living hypocritically. Jesus on the other hand doesn't call people to follow rules, He gives us freedom. Jesus doesn't judge, He gives grace. Jesus doesn't make you earn God's love, He earns it for you. Jesus would rather get out of the church than spend time inside of it.
But is that the case? Take a look at these passages.
This is an incredibly tough topic to tackle. Discussions get very heated because this question is about more than just right or wrong but actual people. People who are hurting and vulnerable and need help. I'll be perfectly honest in saying that I'm a little undecided as to where I stand on this (I used to fall into the first view but now I'm leaning heavily toward the third view). But the question was asked and you guys voted it in a few weeks ago. So what I'll be doing is presenting the three views as I've come across them so that you can make a more informed decision as you prayerfully consider this if its in any way applicable to you.
*This whole blog will be referring to severe and lasting clinical depression. I am not discussing the occasional bad mood or grief we experience through the bumps of life. I'm talking about the kind of depression that consistently disrupts day to day living through anxiety, worry, fear, etc.
My Facebook newsfeed blew up today and last night with a Youtube video showing what looks like 7 high school boys jumping a Chinese boy. Comments were mostly directed against the attackers saying things like, "I hope they get whats coming to them in prison" and "They deserve to burn for this." It was absolutely brutal to watch and for this reason I won't link it here and don't recommend you watch it. To think that people would actually treat someone like this is heart-wrenching. My prayers go out to that poor kid. This video has prompted so many different kinds of responses though, that I'd like to weigh in a bit and give my thoughts on how a Christian should respond to such a terrible thing.
People might expect a pastor to say the Bible says anger is a bad thing. Let me say the opposite. In this case, you should be angry. For so many reasons. You should be angry that an image bearer of God was violently attacked. You should be angry that he was attacked for no good reason. You should be angry that an innocent person was beaten. You should be angry that seven people thought that ganging up on one person was not unfair or wrong. You should be angry for the racism behind this as some of the attackers mock the Chinese kid for not speaking English. You should be very angry about this.
Do Old Testament promises apply to me or just Israel? Depending on how "churched" you are, you may not know all of the controversy that surrounds this question. Dispensationists line up on one side while Covenental theologians line up on the other. If you don't know what those words mean, don't worry, you don't need to.
There are tons of different promises in the Old Testament. God speaks to many people and promises a variety of things. The Bible records those words and conversations. We need to treat those words and conversations like we would any other to understand them. The key to understanding biblical promises is context. CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT. The truth is that some of the promises in the Old Testament apply to us and some of them don't. You have to read the context to see which is which. Here are a few categories that promises might fall into...
I've said it before, but it bears repeating, "I am a nerd." One facet of my nerdiness is that I like Stargate SG-1. I watched an old episode last night with my wife and a friend. Without giving too much away, the plot was something like this... The bad guy had kidnapped and brainwashed one of the main characters. Teal'c is his name. The other main characters rescued Teal'c and brought him home. Hooray! But the job wasn't done. Teal'c had been so thoroughly brainwashed that he believed the bad guy on the show was his god and that the good guys were his enemies!
Ezra: The Sovereign God Desires Holiness
Last week, we saw that God blesses those who seek Him and obey Him. Things have been pretty great. The Temple is rebuilt, God’s promises are secure, and Ezra has arrived with abundance! Today, in our final study in Ezra, things take a turn for the worse.
Mark has been happily married for five years, has a year and a half old daughter, and serves as a youth and children pastor in Oak Park.