Have you heard the stories of Amber Miller and Rob Sloan? I heard about them over the past few weeks and I find their stories, especially when looked at together, to be hilarious and pretty insightful. I'll start with the bad guy in the story.
** Last week I covered the topic of homosexuality. Username Richard the Atheist commented on my article to argue against me. If you'd like to see my response to him, which is long (I warned you!), then CLICK HERE.**
Is swearing a sin? The D word, the S word, the F word. Do we offend God when we use this kind of language? Should Christians use them? My opinion may not be the clear cut answer you were looking for. As a youth and children pastor, believe me, I wish I could say definitively that all swearing is bad. That would keep the parents at church happy with me. But, at the risk of drawing their wrath, let me share my honest thoughts on this issue with you. Let me caution you, this article will get a bit explicit.
Where do you turn when times get tough? What do you do when you're scared, frustrated, lonely, or angry? My daughter Michaela starts with a pout and works her way up to a really strong cry. My brother and I have punched walls before when life got rough for us. As a kid I used to hide under my blanket in bed when I got scared. Now, I have a tendency to either bottle things up or complain to my wife. What do you do? Where do you go?
Jesus sets a wonderful example for us in Luke 22:39-45.
Jesus is about to be tortured, beaten, scourged, humiliated, spat on, and crucified. He knows this. And worst yet, the wrath of God is about to be poured out on Him. Could you imagine the weight of knowing that? He knows He is about to be arrested and it is all about to begin. Jesus finds Himself with all of these worries overwhelming Him. And this is what He does.
I'm a pretty big fan of Poe. Casque of the Amantillado, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell Tale Heart, and of course The Raven are classics. A few days ago I heard that a new movie called The Raven is coming out in March. I was really excited. I was going to link the trailer here, but its a bit gory, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.
John Cusack will be playing Edgar Allan Poe in this movie which retells one of the most amazing parts of Poe's life. A lot of Poe's poems and stories are dark and involve murders and deaths that range from a plague spreading in a ballroom to a man being buried alive behind a brick wall. The movie focuses on a series of murders that occured in the 1800's. These murders were exact copies of the ones that Poe wrote about. This led the police to at first suspect Poe, but eventually Poe had to join forces to help the police catch this copycat killer.
It sounds interesting, but there is just one problem. None of that ever happened! There were no such murders and Poe was never involved in an investigation about a copy cat killer. Aside from using a real historical person as the main character, this movie is almost entirely fiction.
The following is a comment written to debate my previous article on homosexuality which you can find HERE.
I recently got into a long conversation about homosexuality. I was absolutely shocked to see that Christians I knew were claiming that homosexuality was not a sin. I was even more astounded when this person began to twist Scripture to support his claims.
My wife and I watch Modern Family every now and then. Two of the main characters are gay men with an adopted child. Gay marriage is now legal in six states in the US and there will probably be more to come. Many celebrities like Niel Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser/How I Met Your Mother) and Ellen DeGeneres are out of the closet and proud of it. With homosexuality becoming a regular part of our culture, Christians need to know what God has to say about this topic.
Among many other Memes on the internet, "You're Doing It Wrong," has become quite popular. And because I am a Star Wars nerd, here is another good one.
In John 5:39-40, Jesus tells a crowd of people, "The Bible: You're doing it Wrong". Take a look.
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." - John 5:39-40
Jesus tells the crowd of people that they are reading the Bible wrong. At that point, the Bible only consisted of the Old Testament. Jesus tells them that its not just enough to read the Bible. Its not just enough to study the Bible. You need to read the Bible and connect the dots to Jesus.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, passed away just nine days ago on October 5. It didn't take long for Facebook to light up for this man. Dozens of people that I know changed their profile picture to the above photo, an apple logo, or some other commemorative picture. Status updates featured lines like:
"Goodbye Steve Jobs. You have changed the world forever and your legacy will live on. Prayers go out to your family and those that are grieving."
Other people tossed up inspirational quotes from Jobs on Twitter like this one:
“I want to put a ding in the universe.” - Steve Jobs
Disclaimer: In parts 1 and 2, I basically said that I don't think you can prove that God does or does not exist with 100% certainty. Let me clarify what I meant by that. I do believe God exists. God exists whether you believe He does or not. I believe this is the truth of the matter. In addition, I believe that there is sufficient evidence for God's existence that it leaves you without an excuse if you choose to believe He doesn't exist. Romans 1:19-20 says this. What I meant by saying that you can't prove that God exists is that there is no argument that you can present to 10 different atheists and have 10 out of 10 of them convert from atheists to theists. I don't believe this is so much a matter of having a lack of good arguments or proofs, as I believe this is the result of our tendency to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" as Romans 1:18 puts it. God is real and God does exist. There is plenty of evidence but there will always be those who fight this truth.
The Fine Tuning Argument
This time around, we will be looking at a more modern argument for the existence of God. This one is very heavy on science and math, but I'll try to avoid the numerical details and just give a basic understanding. If you actually want all of the math, I'll provide some and I'm sure you can find more with a good google search! Today's argument revolves around the way a great number of conditions in the universe and world come together to create a relatively wonderful environment for us to live in. It can be considered a part of the Design Argument that we looked at last week.
A piano requires all of its many strings to be just the right thickness and length and for each of them to be held in just the right tension for the instrument to be in tune and sound harmonious. And that's not even to mention the hammering mechanism, foot pedals, and other parts to a piano. If too many of these things were not adjusted properly, the piano would produce noise, but not music. In the same way, the world itself seems to be "finely tuned" to provide a place for us to live. There are many aspects to the universe, our solar system, and our planet that are adjusted just right to allow us to live here. In fact, changing just one piece by a small bit would cause life as we know it to be impossible. Just as the piano takes intentional guidance to be so harmonious, the world and universe must have been intentionally guided by a Creator to have turned out just right for us. This argument is called The Fine Tuning Argument.
Lets look at some of the many pieces of our planet and the universe itself which show just how finely tuned this place is for life.
Ever watch a movie where it just all comes together at the end? Movies like Fight Club, Usual Suspects, Ocean's Eleven (12 or 13 as well), and the A Team are exciting to watch. When all of the pieces line up at the end, its just awesome! Whether its a mystery that is revealed in the end that was cleverly hidden through the whole movie or a plan coming together, it can often leave us thinking about it for a long time. Its just like the Last Supper...
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.