Friday, January 26, 2018

Being Encouraged in Difficult Times

I wanted to share a message of encouragement with you all today. There are many times in life when we can be tempted to feel like we can’t keep going, like it’s too tough. And even if you don’t feel that way today, there will be times when you feel that way. 

So let me encourage you with Galatians 6:8-10 which says ”Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.” -Galatians 6:8-10

Sometimes we will feel like the prophet Jeremiah, as he watched Israel turning away from the Lord, knowing everything was on the line and that Israel was facing destruction from Babylon, but still the people refused to turn to God. And Jeremiah said:'"Ah, woe is me! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest."' -Jeremiah 45:3

And Jesus said to his disciples: (Matthew 10:22) "You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved."  Jesus calls us to persevere through all sorts of difficulties.

1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast and immovable. Always excel in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Our work in the Lord can be challenging, but it is so rewarding, and it is so important. What we do today in Christ has eternal consequences!  Every good act we do in Christ name will echo in eternity.  We're honored to serve God, with our whole lives.  We have an incredible ministry!

2 Corinthians 4:1 "Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy of God, we do not lose heart."

We have a ministry before us that will impact thousands. We must continue. And we must never give up. It’s our job to do well, even when it's hard to do.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 "But as for you, brothers, do not grow weary in well-doing."

A retired officer in Escanaba used to tell me “In difficult times Justin, all you can do is cling to your calling.” And I’ll remember that in times of trouble. But sometimes I just cling to the Lord, I walk up to him in prayer, with tears in my eyes and run to my daddy, and take refuge in Him.

I’d like to tell you a story. I was just 3 years out of drug addiction, God had led me to the Salvation Army of all places. And I’d had a tough time of it, I’d worked at the homeless shelter, and it had been really tough.  It was highly stressful work with difficult clients.  And then suddenly I was going to Escanaba upper Michigan, honestly the last place I wanted to go. But I went. And it was really tough. The schedule, the long hours, my bosses, the people, and my coworkers, challenging situations seemed to be piling up one after another. But God had given me a scripture at that time:

Isaiah 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."

I was so tired, and sick everyday, my health was very bad at this time, and I felt every week, just exhausted physically.  Early on the in week, Tuesday or Wednesday I would think: "I just can't do this." I was exhausted physically and emotionally. But I battened down the hatches, and I said, I’m going to get through this, and if I can’t run, I’ll walk, and if I can’t walk I’ll crawl, but I’ll keep moving forward.

And God’s promise is true. I made it through those 2 years, and I’m here today, stronger than I’ve ever been in my life and ministry, and that’s not a testament to me. I couldn’t do it at all. But God was faithful and he matured me, built me up, and completed the work He did in me for that period. And today He’s put before me another scripture:

Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Ten Video Presentations on Naturalism, Evidence of God's Existence, Sexual Purity and other Intriguing Topics

1. Cosmic Reasons for to Believe in Christ - Hugh Ross, PhD

2. Ravi Zacharias Speaks to 40,000 at the Passion Conference 

3. What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? The Impact of Jesus

4. Naturalism... Glimpse a World without God - Gary Habermas

5. Does Christianity Brainwash the Vulnerable - Greg Koukl

6. Are God and Faith Anti-Science and Anti-Reason - John Lennox, PhD

7. Evidence for God: Key Arguments for a Reasonable Faith - Dr. William Lane Craig

8. Dealing with Sexual Sin in the Church - Bill Johnson 

9. Answering Questions Non-Christians Ask - Michael Ramsden, PhD

10. The Absurdity of Life without God - Dr. William Lane Craig 

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

We are Soldiers in the Army of Christ

I'm a soldier.  And as a soldier my job is to obey the orders of my commanding officer.  My commanding officer is the Lord Jesus Christ.  And he has commanded me in the great commission: To make disciples of all nations with the living gospel of His life, death, and resurrection.  Then Jesus was lifted to heaven.  And he promised to return.  I believe he will do just that.  And he'll ask for a report on what I did while he was away.  As a soldier, my job is to fulfill my orders, under penalty of death.  To fail to carry out his command is to be in breach of my orders, and there is no choice, in this army, there is only do and die.  

We are all soldiers in God's army.  We have our mission, to conquer this world for Christ.  So that is what we must do, and that is what we will do.  God has only just begun to move this army to mission, to work, to sacrifice.  

I believe in God's army.  I believe in an army on fire for the gospel of Christ.  I believe in an army centered on discipleship, on living a deeper Christian life.  I believe in an excited, energized army, an army that dares to believe in great moves of God.  God has not finished with this army, indeed, He has only just begun his work in this army of God.  

Our mission is to preach the gospel and develop in our people the effects of salvation; discipline, passion, humility, spiritual power, and holiness of life.  We can do this mighty work through our weapons of righteousness, placed before us in the word of God.  We've great zeal in us for gospel proclamation.  

We can do this mighty work through street ministry, evangelism, and build it into our DNA as a movement.  We've no need of an evangelism ministry program.  What we need is the lifestyle of evangelism built into the DNA of our army.  And secondly, we need true holiness of life.  John Wesley one of our spiritual grandfathers saw this come to fruition in his time through small groups, holiness clubs, getting together to help one another honestly live out holiness.  Dare we really open ourselves up to another?  Dare we really share, from the heart, our struggles to grow in holiness?  It's just such weekly meetings, and daily prayer and study and dutiful confession that will renew us day in and day out to be fully ready to fight this battle. 

We're the church of God, the body of Christ moving on Earth.  "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." -Ephesians 2:19-22

The body will accomplish all that Christ has for us to accomplish.  There is no way around it.  Christ will do all he desires through us his people.  We are yielded to Him.  We are his body.  He is the head, we are the agents.  He is God, we are the servants.  He is the general, we are the soldiers.  Woe to us if we do not preach the gospel!

I know what your thinking.  I really do.  I often think the same thing.  The world is crumbling.  There is so much corruption, so much poverty, human trafficking, oppression, persecution, immorality, lies, and brokenness in this world.  There are so many multiplying evils, what possible difference could we make?  And doesn't it seem like the body of Christ has fallen asleep?  Doesn't it seem like there is so little hope left?

Yes indeed.  There are great difficulties ahead.  But it's at just such times like these, when everything seems to be crumbling, that God loves to work to generate massive transformation! It's at times like these that we'll know through and through, bones to bones, that it was only by God's power, by Christ's efficacy that we could ever persevere forward into such darkness.  We'll know that it wasn't of us, and our cleverness, but that it was by God's reality penetrating our reality, by God's miraculous designs and mercies in time and space that the tide finally turned!  

It wasn't us.  It was never us.  And we could never do it alone.  It's humbling to realize that God alone is the one who justifies, and God alone is the one who brings about real hope and real lasting change.  No man can do this, but only God almighty himself.  And we as human love to try so hard to do it ourselves, to show God that we don't need him, but every time humanity fails, under the weight of darkness, and God must swoop in to show His glory and our need for Him.  

Humanity wanted a world without God.  That is the fall.  And this is the fall.  Here it is.  This is the world without God.  But in fact even now God still intervenes, refusing to allow our fatal destructions to be final, He still continues to hold out his hand to us and pull us from the muck and mire.  He breaks our chains of sin.  He pours out His love to us, and wipes the tears from our eyes as He sets us in a spacious golden valley, suits us up with his armor, his uniform, the blue, the red, and the shield, and the sword, and breastplate of Christ's righteousness, girded up in His truth, and ready for battle.  

He's lit a candle in us you see, the candle is Christ, and this Spirit he places inside us, and we glow with His power.  And nothing is impossible for us in Christ.  Nothing is impossible.

It may not seem that way when your pressed on every side, doing battle with a dozen demons, fighting and fighting everyday, exhausted, frustrated, half-sick, and sleepy.  But it's at those moments when we so desperately need Him that He guides us through.  In fact those are just the moments that point us to the reality that we are in need of His (total) sustenance.  That's humbling isn't it?  Indeed it is.  To think that we can't go a single day without God's power and sustaining presence with us?  But it is quite true.  It's how we were designed.  So we need Christ in us, and we have a great Christ for our need.  This much is quite certain! 

The battle is terrible and difficult.  I won't sugar-coat it for you.  I cannot.  I've fought and fought.  And it seemed as if I was in a barren clearing in the deep wood, and monsters were crushing in from all sides.  And my eyes watered with exhaustion as I fought them with sword and spirit, buckler and faith, day and night cutting down the foul beasts with my sword.  And I'm dropped, and nearly dashed, bruised, beaten, cuts and gashes, spiritual wounds and scars as I fight the enemy's kingdom day and night.  

But I always seem to emerge alive, and strong, if not victorious.  But so often victorious as well, standing over the corpses of demons and monsters aplenty.  I'm sure you've had the same experiences metaphorically, as I have.  We fight each day in this spiritual battle.  We don't fight with steel and wood but with spiritual weapons: dedicated prayer, determined faith, dogged resistance to the darkness, love for biblical truth, and hatred for evil.  We don't fight men or women, we don't fight governments or societies, no, we fight the spiritual forces of darkness in the high places.  And as they work out their plans for evil, we work out the Spirit's plans for good; for holiness, redemption, hope, freedom, and transformation, for the least likely saints one could ever imagine.  

These are the most unlikely saints and soldiers, you and I, the most unlikely saints and soldiers indeed!  We're former drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers and abused, poor uneducated wretches, depressive suicidal street urchins, bipolar, mentally unchained, outcasts, physically disabled, angry, demented, sinful, evil, and terrible people bought from darkness with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and turned from sin and hell and to light, love, hope, faith, and freedom.  Oh such sweet freedom we've been given, and He's made us all new!  

We are unlikely saints, yet saints we quite remain, as the gift of Christ Jesus.  We wear as garments robes of white, the perfect righteousness of Christ.  He's purchased us, we are His body, His army, and His beloved people.  He loves us so much.  Even when we were still rebels against Him, He loved us so much and He set us free.  He set me free.  He set you free.  And it's a beautiful story.  It's such a beautiful story.  It brings me to tears, the beauty of this story, that Christ would choose you and I, makes no sense to me, yet His love is just that mystery, that He loves us so much, that He selected us, with such great love, and with such a peculiar and specific love for each of us, something special He loved in each of us.  And His love remains with us.  It's what spurs us to do anything.  Not to buy His love, not to earn it, no, but because we already have it in the free gift of Christ.  Your perfect in Him, your a very Godly and pure army.  Own it.  

So as an army we march to the beat of a different drum.  We march according to the orders of our great high commander Jesus Christ.  We march according to His commands, and we are stewards of his kingdom until He returns.  So we will fight.  We must fight.  There's no other choice.  We will fight to bring the gospel to the lost on the streets of this world.  We will fight in the streets, in the prisons, in the dope houses, along the red light districts, the brothel houses, the impoverished inner cities, the institutions, the houses of learning, the skidrows, the bars, the hospitals, the broken homes, and the darkest, dankest, most dismal places, where no light dwells, the great Light will shine and yes, we will fight!  We will fight to the very last! We will fight in the fire and volley, we will fight! We'll never give up!  

We'll return to the foundations and rally this army of God to new and greater heights than ever before.  We're moving forward into a new time of blessings, a new time of energy and resolve, and a new time of revival, great awakening, and unprecedented Spiritual power.  Glory to God in the highest heaven.  He is with us.  God is with us!  We have nothing to fear.  We are full of hope now, and full of life.  Christ fills us.  

So we shall take the gospel out our doors and into the streets.  We shall rally the church to holiness, to discipleship, to the true, real living out of this Christian faith.  We must do so.  There is no other choice.  We've a great master to serve and we must serve Him so very well.  And we will.  I believe we will.  I believe in you, because your the church, but more so I believe in Christ, whose church we are, and we shall not fail to be in this critical hour all he has called us to be. 

God be with us as we fight this war, in the struggle for the life and hope of humanity, against the evil one Satan. Our high King Jesus leads us now, and we've already won, because Christ has triumphed! So we shall declare it to all peoples, to all nations and individuals everywhere.  

Jesus is coming soon, and He must find us faithful, we've much work to do, so let us get to work, and do it for Christ.  He is coming soon now.  He will be along quickly.  He will be here soon.  Come Lord Jesus, come.  May the grace of God in Christ be with all His people, His army forever, Amen.   

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Logic, History, Mathematics, and Science: Investigating Truth Claims of the Christian Faith

So today I'd like to build a case. Let's see how we can approach the truth claims of Christianity from an interdisciplinary approach.

I like to look at Christianity from several different angles. Those angles are logic (specifically logical fallacies), history (tests for historicity), mathematics (statistical probability), and science (astronomy, fine-tuning). 

Those are the primary approaches I like to make to the claims of the Christian faith. Secondary approaches that I also like to make are in the areas of empirical verification (adherence to reality), textual criticism (biblical document credibility), archaeology (discoveries verifying recorded history),philosophy (the teachings of Jesus Christ in practice), and personal experience (how I've witnessed transformation in my life).

I'm not going to dive too far into any one area of verification today, but at least browse through some of the major areas of inquiry.

First up, logic. Many have claims that challenge the validity of Christianity. Let's look at four major objections and see if they are logically coherent. There are certainly others, but these are some I've dealt with:

1. "I don't believe in God, and I don't believe in unicorns or leprechauns either!" 

2. "Yeah Christians are so great, but their priests are pedophiles. Bunch of nasty pedophiles."

3. "Your view on homosexuality says it all. Christians are bigots."

4. "Christianity has caused so much destruction in the past, like the crusades and the inquisition."

1. The first objection is a sort of combination of two fallacies. The first is a logical fallacy called "ad hominem." What it means is the person challenging the claim is throwing out insults instead of answering the argument. In addition I would say that the objector is committing a logical fallacy we might call "appealing to absurdity." This is a false appeal where the person appeals to the "absurd notion of a czar of the heavens" instead of making a logical argument. Claiming something is absurd is not an argument, it's a variation on "ad hominem."

Billions of people across history have believed and followed a being they considered to be "God."  Many of those people are Nobel prize winners (Martin Luther King Jr, Albert Einstein), American presidents (Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, etc), great scientists (Galileo, Newton, Francis Bacon, Francis Collins, etc), philosophers (Blaise Pascal, Edmund Burke, Soren Kierkegaard,  G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Paul Copan) and billions of everyday people.  Are they all ignorant rubes? Are they all stupid? Could so many geniuses be wrong?  I'm not appealing to authority alone here, let me just add that fact, I'm building a case that references authority figures.  Additionally, let me present a basic argument for the existence of God. 1. The universe began to exist. 2. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.  3. Therefore the universe has a cause.  This cause must be timeless, spaceless, all powerful, therefore the most reasonable cause for the universe is an intelligent designer similar to God.  So expert testimony shows us we can't just toss out the idea of a God, just because our first reaction is to think it is preposterous.

2. Objection two is what you call a "Hasty generalization fallacy." It is reasoned that when one or a few people do something bad, then all people in that group are bad. If one atheist commits a crime, are all atheists criminals? Of course not. If one priest claiming to be a Christian molests a child, are all Christians child molesters? Of course not. One must never judge a worldview by how it is abused. Every person has free will. Anyone can claim to follow a teaching, but their actions tell us who they are. Don't look to a person, look to Jesus himself, examine His life and test Christianity in that way. There will always be some people, hopefully very few who take a faith or practice and twist it for their own ends.  There are many good charities, but there are some who misuse people's money.  There are many great churches out there, but there are some who are just trying to get people to toss out their money.  There are many businesses with good ethical practices, but some are bad apples.  It's just the nature of the world we live.  Don't judge a worldview by how it's abused, instead look to Christ himself.

3.Embedded in this objection are multiple fallacies. First we have "the bandwagon fallacy" and then an "appeal to popularity." The latest trend in the past 10-20 years is that homosexuality is good, therefore since Christians believe in traditional marriage they must be evil. The objection ends with an "ad hominem" by calling the person a "bigot."  A fourth issue is that the question is "loaded." A "loaded question fallacy" is a question that is impossible to answer because the person answering appears guilty before even answering the question.  

That makes it a very difficult subject to address.  But let me just say this: We live a culture where we're free to agree to disagree on most issues.  Now, it's true that some have mistreated people of a homosexual disposition in the past.  But I think you'll find that most Christians simply disagree with the homosexual lifestyle on a basis of moral disagreement.  But it's not about hatred.  Good people can disagree on issues like this. The Christian scriptures indicate that the practice of homosexuality is not what God desires for His people (Romans 1:25-27, 1st Timothy 1:10).  So we as Christians don't practice this lifestyle, and we don't encourage others to either.  But that doesn't mean we hate people who do.  We simply disagree. And our hope is that we'll love the person we disagree with, treat them with dignity and maybe in the future we can help love that person, and introduce that person to the love found in Christ. 

4. When one points to the past tragedies of a worldview, we have to ask ourselves first: What really happened in the events of the crusades? After Muslims invaded Europe, all the way to the capital and beyond, finally a Catholic Pope called for a counter attack, to defend Europe. Should Christians fight wars of offense against innocents? Certainly not. But wars of defense against invaders? It's debatable. But even then, we still find a logical fallacy. It's called a "Genetic fallacy." Just because something bad happened in the past in regard to Christianity, does that mean that Christianity is basically bad? Of course not. Many died during the crusades, and there were ugly crusades, like the childrens crusade.  Obviously this is a terrible tragedy, but it doesn't disprove Christianity.  And in comparison, atheistic regimes have caused much worse genocides, like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Zedong. Keep that in mind when examining these worldviews.

So those are some looks at how logic can be applied to deal with objections. But what about a positive argument?

I think a very powerful argument is one called "The Kalam Cosmological Argument" championed by Dr. William Lane Craig. I touched on it previously, but here it is again: 

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This cause must be timeless, spaceless, all powerful, and separate from the universe, therefore the most reasonable cause for the universe is an intelligently designing all powerful all loving personal being we call in English, "God."

Simple and very effective. (Click here for a short video describing the Kalam argument. Another interesting argument is called the Moral argument, click here for a short video describing that one.)

Next, history. There are two ways to approach Christianity from the angle of history: the historical Jesus and the historicity of the Biblical documents. I'd like to focus on the historeography factor today. We'll start with a quote from Time magazine:

“After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived—and is perhaps the better for the siege. Even on the critics' own terms—historical fact—the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than they did when the rationalists began the attack.” –TIME Magazine, December 30, 1974.

The Bible has certainly faced a lot of attacks over history. We have to ask ourselves, how is ancient history confirmed? Ancient historical documents are verified by comparing manuscripts to one another for reliability. Such findings are also tested against archaeological findings for confirmation. Currently there are 5,686 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Compared to other historical documents, the Bible has the best manuscript evidence of any historical document. Click here for a chart comparing ancient manuscript quantities. In other languages like Syriac, Aramaic, and Coptic there are over 25,000 manuscript copies of parts of the NT. When compared to one another their accuracy is 99.5% which is virtually unheard of. 

It's ironic how much skepticism there is toward the biblical documents, generated by fictional novels like "The Da Vinci Code." It truly shows the ignorance of many in the modern world. I can't speak to that though, I used to be one of those people who thought the Da Vinci code was non-fiction and the Bible was fiction. Oh irony of ironies.

I'll close this section with a quote from the famed writer H.G. Wells: “I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”

Next we have mathematics, or more specifically: statistical probability. We know that the possibility of one person winning the lottery is very remote. But it is certainly possible, however unlikely. For example the approximate chances of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175 million (source).

But eventually probability becomes so remote, that the chances actually drop to zero. It becomes not possible at all. When dealing with the possibility of intelligent life arising from rocks and puddles of fluid the probability becomes exceedingly unlikely. When considering how perfect the settings of gravity and mass had to be tuned to allow for the big bang to occur the way it did, we're coming up on not just improbability, but impossibility (that it could happen by random chance.)

The need for an intelligent designer is underlined so intensely it's a wonder how anyone can argue for random chance. Adding billions and billions to time changes very little. Given the second law of thermodynamics, that complex systems tend to break down, how could we assume that life would grow increasingly complex? Atheists would hit back and say the 2nd law doesn't apply to a closed system.  But they have no evidence that the universe is a closed system. It's a presupposition.  

The most plain and simple answer, occum's razor cuts anything else off, is this: If the universe appears designed, if human anatomy and the natural world show incredible unified complexity, and the dials of the universe are tuned to allow for said life, the most reasonable and obvious conclusion is that the universe and the Earth's systems were in fact designed by an intelligent designer. Or as the astronomer Fred Hoyle put it: "Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly miniscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect deliberate … . It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect … higher intelligences … even to the limit of God … such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific." 
-Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1981), pp. 141, 144, 130

Or stated in this scenario: "The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein."
-Fred Hoyle, Hoyle on evolution, Nature, Vol. 294, No. 5837 (November 12, 1981), p. 105

Good stuff, but how about some positive statistical evidence? Absolutely. Fritz Ridenour said it best: “The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Computations using the science of probability on just 8 of these prophecies show the chance that someone could have fulfilled all 8 prophecies is 10 (to the 17th power), or 1 in 100 quadrillion.” –Fritz Ridenour, So What’s the Difference?, p. 28. 

John Lennox, professor of Mathematics at Oxford said:
"We have only to see a few letters of the alphabet spelling our name in the sand to recognize at once the work of an intelligent agent. How much more likely, then is the existence of an intelligent Creator behind human DNA, the colossal biological database that contains no fewer than 3.5 billion "letters" - the longest "word" yet discovered?"

Next up, we have science. I recall watching an interview where a reporter was talking with Christopher Hitchens, a renowned atheist (now deceased.) The reporter asked Hitchens flat out, "Is there anything that causes serious doubt of your atheism?" Or something to that effect. He replied quite quickly, that the one thing that gave him pause was the fine tuning in the universe. The universe appears to be finely tuned to allow for life to existence. There are immutable laws within that universe that govern it's functions. In fact the universe appears to be designed. So much so that scientists arguing for their naturalist worldview must say that the universe "only appears" to be designed, but this is in fact due to the possibility of multiple universes; which seems like a long stretch to defend a presupposition like "naturalism" (the idea that all things must be described within natural terms.)

Fine tuning to me makes the existence of God near totally certainty. It's only logical that if there is a design (the universe) there must be a designer (God.) Click here to watch a short video description of the argument from fine tuning

"There's more code and sophisticated nanomachinery in just one of your forty trillion cells than in your smartphone and probably every other gadget you own. If the code and nanomachinery in your smartphone requires intelligence, wouldn't the far superior technology inside of you also require intelligence?" –Frank Turek

Logic, history, math, and science. We've really only grazed the surface of the wealth of information in these disciplines when examining Christianity. But I hope exploring some of the key points within these disciplines was helpful to you.

We always have to remind ourselves that we're in search of the truth, no matter what it might be. Sometimes we begin the journey with certain preconceptions. We have ideologies that we want to defend. One great thinker said:

"I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political." -Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means (London: Chatto & Windus, 1946), pp. 270, 273.

The search for the truth is not always an easy one, and we sometimes have a desire for a certain outcome. I know that I did. But I think deep down we all want to know the real, actual truth. For me, Christianity is that truth.  I've investigated and found it to be true. And it's not because of blind faith, but because of reasonable faith.

I don't just believe in the God of the Bible. I know he is real. I've seen it first hand. Or I wouldn't be doing any of this. The evidence to me was clear. Once again, everything that begins has a cause, the universe began to exist, therefore the universe must have a cause. That cause has to be immaterial, all powerful, and personal: 20% logic. The biblical documents are cross referenced by over 25,000 manuscripts, which makes them above reproach in tests of historicity: 20% history. The universe is finely tuned to allow for life to exist, and macro evolution is statistically impossible given how complex life is (the human eye for example) 20% science. So there is 60% of my intelligent belief in God. Add another 10% of the empirical fact that Christianity has grown from 12 disciples to 2.1 billion people. Then 15% of my own personal experience with calling on Jesus and recovering from drugs and alcohol. 

I've moved past a reasonable doubt. In a court room, the reasonable doubt is gone. And I can truly believe without any reservation. There are so many other proofs too, like the problem of evil in the world, fulfilled prophecies, science in the Bible and archaeological discoveries. There are so many ways to approach it!

So it makes good sense. The existence of God makes sense. Jesus Christ in the scriptures is a perfect teaching of love and truth. Storing up treasure in heaven seems... wonderful to me. Plus it feels so great to do. The saying is true that you have not lived until you have done something for someone who can do nothing in return. The feeling, and presence of God at that moment is indescribably wonderful.

The truth that God does exist, at the end of the day, is what best describes reality. The problems of the world tell me that sin is real. The majesty of the heavens tell me there must be a designer. The love from my friends and family tells me there must be a first lover. The scriptural accounts of the life of Jesus Christ show me that the philosophy of loving God, and loving others is practical and leads to peace and harmony for mankind.

How does it seem to you? Search it out. Pray and ask for the truth to be revealed. Pursue God with all your strength. He will reveal himself to you, or more to the point: He will show you his son, the blessed savior Jesus Christ. We all need a savior, forgiveness for our sins. We all feel the weight of it. Freedom from that guilt is not found in pretending life has no meaning, but in embracing the clean slate provided by Jesus Christ. He has provided for our malady, through forgiveness and spiritual rebirth. He filled the empty spot in my chest, that could never seem to be filled by anything in this world. Let him do the same for you. God bless you, and may you find Christ in the quiet moments of this life... staring off at the stars and the sunset wondering in peaceful contemplation... Why am I here? What is the meaning of this life? What is the truth?

Some Quotations from Great Thinkers to Reflect on:
“They are teachers who point to their teaching or show some particular way. In all of these, there emerges an instruction, a way of living. It is not Zoroaster to whom you turn. It is Zoroaster to whom you listen. It is not Buddha who delivers you; it is his Noble Truths that instruct you. It is not Mohammed who transforms you; it is the beauty of the Koran that woos you. By contrast, Jesus did not only teach or expound His message. He was identical with His message. “In Him,” say the Scriptures, “dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” He did not just proclaim the truth. He said, “I am the truth.” He did not just show a way. He said, “I am the Way.” He did not just open up vistas. He said, “I am the door.” “I am the Good Shepherd.” “I am the resurrection and the life.” “I am the I AM.” In Him is not just an offer of life’s bread. He is the bread. That is why being a Christian is not just a way of feeding and living. Following Christ begins with a way of relating and being.”
-Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message

"All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth." -Baptist Faith and Message (2000) Chapter 15 The Christian and the Social Order

“Only when holiness and worship meet can evil be conquered. For that, only the Christian message has the answer.” -Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message

"Jesus doesn't explain why there is suffering, illness, and death in the world. He brings healing and hope. He doesn't allow the problem of evil to be the subject of a seminar. He allows evil to do its worst to him. He exhausts it, drains its power, and emerges with new life." -N. T. Wright, from Simply Good News 

“I really believe we’re on the cusp of a golden era in Christian apologetics. We’re living in very exciting times. The water has been stirred by atheists, anti-theists and agnostics, and there’s an atmosphere of skepticism because of it. To me, that just spells opportunity; it means people are thinking about these issues, and they’re willing to listen and engage and discuss these topics. Apologetics has always been the handmaiden of evangelism. It’s a tool that’s used in the evangelistic process. It’s always about helping people get past those spiritual sticking points that are holding them up in their spiritual journeys.” –Lee Strobel, journalist, Chicago Tribune and Christian author

"If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody." -Martin Luther King Jr.

“The Christian in the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, Art & the Bible

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Understanding the Roots of Contemporary Worldview: The Struggle of Modern Day Faith

The Thinker
“Never in our country’s history has a generation been so empowered, so wealthy, so privileged—and yet so empty.” 
Ben Shapiro, Porn Generation
We live in a time of clashing worldviews. We live in a time of great corruption and uncertainty. We live in a time of great splendor, and beauty, and technological marvels and convenience. Yet suicide rates are on the rise according to the CDC suicide rates have doubled in the United States when comparing the early 2000s to the late 2000s up to 2014 (source). According to the World Happiness Report in 2007 the United States ranked 3rd in happiness in surveyed countries, and in 2016 we'd dropped to 19th (source).

There is a sense of growing corruption in our times, and of growing polarization in our culture. There are no longer shared beliefs of the past that unite all americans in common heritage and worldview. There are now two chief warring worldviews in the United States, each of which are distinct and unique, with many varying viewpoints, but generally these two worldviews come down to the traditional vs. the progressive.

The traditional would affirm certain core philosophies held, some unknowingly, like the values leading back to ancient Greek and Roman thought, coming from people like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. Married with the ancient Greek philosophy of seeking unity in diversity is of course the religious heritage of Christianity in Protestant and Catholic forms, as well as various forms of Judaism. Prominent foundational thinkers of this worldview would include of course Jesus Christ, Moses, and the church fathers like Augustine, Origen, Justin Martyr, and others. Other foundational thinkers would include people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Locke (philosopher), Martin Luther (the Reformation), Richard Hooker (founder of conservatism), Ronald Reagan (American president), Margaret Thatcher (British PM), William Rehnquist (Supreme Court Justice), Martin Luther King Jr (famous Minister and civil rights leader) C.S. Lewis (famed Christian apologist), G.K. Chesterton (Christian philosopher), and Malcom Muggeridge (famous British journalist). Current leaders include Victor Davis Hanson (author and speaker), Ravi Zacharias (famed Christian apologist), Mike Lee (Senator), Ted Cruz (Senator), Mark Levin (talk show host), Franklin Graham (Christian leader), David Horowitz (political philosopher), Dennis Prager (orthodox Jew and talk show host), Ben Shapiro (orthodox Jew and political commentator), and Dinesh D'Souza (Catholic apologist and film maker). Baked into these various forms of traditionalism are ideas like objective truth, natural law (God given rights), the concept of absolute truth, individual liberty, religious freedom, free market economics, the right to life, natural marriage, the fallen nature of man, and so on and so forth. Traditional views are often considered the conservative perspective, or the Judaeo-Christian worldview.

Secondly we have the progressive worldview. This worldview is based on various minds going back to people like Charles Darwin (founder of Darwinism), John Maynard Keynes (Keynesian economics), Woodrow Wilson (progressive era), Karl Marx (socialism/communism), Saul Alinsky (community organizing), Herbert Marcuse (Critical Theory) Theodore Roosevelt (progressive era), John Dewey (prominent Darwinist), Sigmund Freud (neurologist), David Hume (famed atheist philosopher), Bertrand Russell (famed atheist philosopher), Malcom X (Muslim minister and human rights activist), Herbert Croly (political philosopher/founder of The New Republic magazine), Friedrich Nietzsche (famed atheist philosopher), and more recently leaders like Barack H. Obama (former president), Van Jones (CNN host), Bernie Sanders (democratic socialist presidential nominee), and Nina Turner (political commentator). Baked into the worldview of progressivism are ideas like the basic goodness of humanity, equality, group rights, critical theory, deconstructionism, advocating for victim groups, social safety nets, welfare, socialism and democratic socialism, government redistribution of wealth, class structures, the evolutionary view of human origins, naturalism, post-modernism, viewing the course of history as a constant progression, and of viewing humanity as always progressing toward the greater good.

This worldview tends to believe that a ruling elite of academics, scientists, rationalists, philosophers, political commentators, and bureaucrats should rule over the society and guide the course of society, through direct democracy, and guided by the larger society's view of what progression toward utopia looks like. This worldview generally believes that very little can be learned from history, and the present must always be remade and reshaped, always evolving toward a better future.

The traditionalist view is quite different of course, believing instead that the present must be guided by the past, by history, and by learning throughout the ages. In general this worldview believes that Judaeo-Christian ethics, the ideas brought forth from the Torah and the Christian Bible form the best foundation for the ideals for a society to live by. Individual liberty is vital, religious liberty is vital, and economic liberty is very important as well. The society is considered a meritocracy where people rise and fall based on how hard they work and how well they put their ideas and values into practice.

Equality is also valued, but not in the same way as in the progressive worldview. Equality is viewed as secondary to liberty in the traditional view, while in the progressive view equality tends to be prime, while liberty is secondary to the progressive worldview.

Probably the deepest foundational difference between progressive and traditionalist is their views on the nature of man: The traditionalist recognizes man is basically sinful and fallen, with a capacity to become good if brought into religious faith and good moral practice while the progressive tends to believe that man is basically good and pure, with a capacity to do evil only on an institutional level, therefore existing institutions must be torn down and replaced with a truly equal society in which all are treated fairly. Of course the deepest foundation of this belief is regarding the nature of the universe itself, the progressive sees a random material evolving universe in which there is no truth or absolutes and values are fungible, while the traditionalist sees an ordered universe intelligently designed by a creator, with inherent values, absolutes and objective realities.

So those are the two worldviews battling in our society. There are varying forms of course on both sides, traditionalists might be more libertarian, or more deist, or more Christian, or even atheist or gay or transgender conservatives would fall under this umbrella, additionally some would identify as paleo-conservatives, Traditionalist (with a capital T), neo-conservative, centrist, and so on and so forth. Many progressives would consider themselves more liberal, less liberal, social justice warriors, progressives, democratic socialists, communists, blue dogs, classical liberals, atheists, naturalists, deists, liberal Christian, progressive Christian, new left, black lives matter, and so on and so forth.

Now let me tell you, I understand the frustration with the polarization in our country, and in the western world overall. It's really annoying, frustrating, and mind-boggling. But I'm really sorry to tell you that's there no easy way to "come together." So many complain about the polarization of the country, but we've really been coming to this point for a long time. There is a very real difficulty, seemingly insurmountable difficulty, in reconciling the traditional worldview and the progressive worldview. They are fundamentally different worldviews, with fundamentally different presuppositions. And both views can produce decent evidence for their positions. So there isn't a simple way to come together. Though I suppose it could start with a willingness for both sides to stop with the inflated rhetoric, but I don't think we'll see that happen because it's so intense on both sides. Progressives come and out shout "Thousands of people will die if Obamacare is repealed!" And Conservatives are just as quick to point out "that if the progressive agenda is allowed to continue it will mean the total collapse and destruction of western civilization itself!" The rhetoric is wild on both sides. And the differences are not just policy-deep, they're systemic foundational beliefs.

So we see this struggle in our country between left and right. Some think both sides are pretty much the same, and there is a certain truth to that, in that there are "establishment" sides to both parties, that tend to be interior between the line, that are snuggled up close with special interest groups, lobbyists, and the big money. These are the sitting senators and congressmen who have been in their respective bodies for 20, 30, and even 40 years. It's a sad state of affairs, but let me assure you that returning to this supposed bi-partisan middle ground is not the answer either. It was this establishment middle ground that brought us to the point of 20+ trillion dollars in debt, hyper-inflation, career politicians, and Washington becoming a place that was seemingly cut off from the will of the people.

Politics is politics. I don't have a further comment on all this progressive vs. traditionalist struggle. Obviously I would fall more on the traditionalist side of the struggle. But my concern is the state of human souls. My concern is helping people to understand what the meaning of life is, and how to connect with what is beyond us. And I do believe there is a way forward.

Ultimately it will have to start with me. And with you. We look to solving the problems of the world by changing things around us, but what about us? It has to start with us, internally, and how we live externally.

We've often been a people of hedonism. We've been indulgent and lazy, staring at the television when we should've been pursuing holiness. We've prostituted ourselves to one night stands when we should've been mighty men and women of God, standing boldly, with great dignity and honor against the rising tide of darkness. We should've been building up the future generations, not destroying them, lying to them and educating them into imbecility. We've made many mistakes, and to better the world we must better ourselves.

But there is still hope. We can patch up these wounds, and cry out to God almighty for His help and deliverance, and come to a humility, and a patient knowledgeable about who we are and what we need. The truth is there is only one who can truly transform our souls into new people, it's God. But of course the question must come up and many would ask, "Why do you believe in God?"

It's a fair question and a good question. Most assume that Christians are backwards fundamentalists who have faith in things that are not true and are simply practicing a sort of cultural faith based on their heritage. If that were the sum of it, I would not be here now talking about it, because if that's all it is, then it's nothing, and it's less than nothing, it's just an empty pattern of nothingness.

Thankfully that's not what I believe. I believe in a reasonable, intelligent faith based on history, science, personal experience, textual criticism, and philosophy. And I believe facts in these disciplines indicate that God does exist. Christianity is unique as a world religion in that there is a great deal of historical and archaeological evidence for the facts depicted in the biblical documents.

So my response regarding the existence of God is this: I think it's very reasonable to believe in God. Let me tell you why:

1. The universe exists and it must have a cause, everything that begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist. Evolution can't create, neither can science. The universe needs a first cause that is timeless, outside the system and infinitely powerful. God is the logical first cause (cosmological argument)

2. The universe is finely tuned, there is order in the universe at work that allows for planets, stars and galaxies. There are laws in the universe, constants like gravity, relativity, and so on. It's reasonable that when we find mathematical laws and cosmological laws in the universe, that there is a powerful being that created those systems (argument from design)

3. Within the human cell we find massive amounts of information. When we look at the human eye, we see a system so incredibly complicated that it could never come about by chance. When scientists look into the human body they see a complex yet harmonious system of machinery. We see cells and tissue, and DNA and systems that all function as one, and are irreducibly complex. (specified complexity, irreducibly complexity).

4. The human mind intuitively knows that there is good and evil, right and wrong, good and bad. Objective moral laws exist, they are universal. If objective morals exist, then an objective moral law giver must exist, therefore God exists. (moral argument)

Those are four key logical progressions that indicate it's reasonable to believe God is real. We can also talk about the historical authenticity of the biblical documents, how there are thousands of manuscripts that match each other highly accurately. And we can also talk about how Jesus Christ is mentioned in historical documents outside the Bible, such as in the histories of Tacitus and Josephus, indicating that Jesus Christ did really exist and his life was recorded. There is a great deal of evidence, and I think you'll see if you really research it, that Jesus is truly who He said He was and is, today alive and active in the world.

So we move beyond these key arguments for the existence of God. But for the believer reading these words, do memorize these facts and be prepared to provide an answer to those you may an encounter who don't know Jesus. We should know the truth. And people in our world don't trust the word of God. We can show how science and history point to Christ. Many will not be interested in the truth anyway, just finding a way to avoid and reject the concept of a creator, but there are many out there who have genuine questions and are honestly searching for the truth. Give them answers.

We've often struggled as the church on Earth to contend with the forces of culture and change. Don't get me wrong, the church has done so much good in human history and does a great deal of good today. Please don't mistake me on that. But many of us have struggled to step out and take action, and meet people with the gospel.

We've sat idle in our citadels as the darkness closed in from every side. We've trembled and quaked at the thought that we might offend someone or we might get called judgmental. We've grown apathetic and exhausted self-pleasuring. Wve slept and stared at the television and the iphone while the moral structure of our society disintegrated. We've been so afraid, so dossil, so set in our ways, so anachronistic that nothing seemed capable to move us, and our army disappeared around us, and all that was left was old women and young boys. We've left our responsibility to hold the line against the night, in line with the Spirit, and philosophical and moral chaos has resulted. We've allowed our religion to become a hellfire, a lie, and empty, and done little to remedy this.

But not all of us. Some of us continue to fight. Some of us like "strider" on the plains, remains as a sentinel, a sentry, lone patrol-men in the wilderness, without an army, but still jaunting through the night, fighting and ambushing enemy troops moving through our regions, sleeping on rocks and eating locusts and wild honey, dogged in our determination and unfailing in our hope. In the cold wind and moon-lit night we look up at the sky filled with stars and wonder if there is a future left. And when we sleep we dream of far away places, and see things yet to come, and something in those images heals us within. At one moment we fear and tremble, at the next we are filled with zeal and boldness, resolute to never give up the fight, to never stop trying, to stand for Christ to the very last battle. This is the struggle for the Christian soldier in the post-truth culture in which we live.

We stand, we fear, we fight, we struggle, we see the glory of God, yet we live in the angst of a fallen society. We're like Lot in the Sodom, sad in our hearts for the collapse. And we never give up. This is our lost cause. And more so, the cause of all mankind. In the world of darkness, a bright light has shined, and we now bear that sacred fire in our souls. We are the lightbringers, through Him who gives us strength. We are the keepers of the sacred fire, and the ones through whom Christ makes his appeal to the world.

This is my call to you Christians standing in these late hours: Stand firm, do not be moved. Don't give up, and don't lose heart. Don't lose heart in the face of sin, and darkness, and sin celebration, and even brokenness, abortion, broken families, child abuse, the mass marketing of lies, the corruption in the high places and all the rest. Do not lose heart. You must not. Guard your heart, and turn the eyes of your heart to Christ. As it says in Hebrews Chapter 12: "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Consider what Jesus had to deal with. Are we so special in our time? Did modernism really herald a new age of goodness? Of course not. Very little has in fact changed. When Jesus spoke to the people, the crowds were divided, many believed him, many did not believe him and apposed him. That's how it always goes. Our time is no different. Though it is sad to see a nation that once honored God, began to mock, ignore, and reject the very concept of God. That tragedy should not be overlooked, and to mourn for a night is no sin.

Everything is about Jesus, all of life is about Jesus, and the word itself is Jesus. That is the hardest thing. It's the almost impossible thing. It's the scariest thing because it's so unknown. It's so terrifying because it means giving up our own control. It's like a haunting specter, it's seems beyond us to do, not because we can't choose it, but because it's a new world that might leave us in last place. That hardest thing is this: Really giving up our entire, whole life to Christ. And instead of us being in control of everything, we willingly yield our heart, life, plans, future, decisions, and even the things we love most dearly, to God almighty, and we admit, yes God is God, and I am not, and I give authority over to God. We yield our own authority to Him. Why? Because we can know, and know that the best life we can possibly live, not the easiest or the most pleasurable, but the most pure, right and best life course can only be found in Christ. We trust Christ for that. And we yield our destiny to Him.

We yield our future to him and our present day, yet we also yield our past to Him. We yield our past wrongs to him, we yield our sins to him, we yield every guilt to him, and we yield every painful memory, every anxiety, depression, youthful sorrow, lost love, broken childhood sorrows, all our brokenness, all our sins, all our wrongs, all our selfishness, all our self-seeking, all our evil desires, and our good desires, and every big thing and little thing, we yield to Him, and we are transformed fundamentally into a new person.

New life. We become a new person. I've experienced it myself. The new life is real. It's very, very real. As I see myself being changed internally, slowly but surely, I wonder at the possibilities, and I really wonder about the nature of reality itself.

We've been sold such a lie as young people in this day and age. We've been sold the lie that life has no meaning. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a disgusting, ugly lie that entices us to live duplicitous, selfish lives of cynicism, indulgence and erotomania. It's sad, and pathetic, and it's left us chained to a hundred addictions, opening up desires in our hearts that nothing can ever fulfill. And we're exhausted by it all. We can't stand it and we found nothing in those bottles, pills, parties and sexual encounters except suicide and self-hatred.

So in the new life I wonder at my destiny: What is this future God has designed? What have I been chosen for? And I see in the future a perfect reality beyond the chaos and darkness of this world. I see a redeemed humanity living in a timeless state, on a perfected Earth, reset, redesigned and recrafted to a perfect city, a perfect nature, a perfect animal kingdom and a perfect humanity, perfected by Christ, and given great position and authority by Him who made the human soul. To know God is a lifelong process, this is not a once and done deal. To come to comprehend the glory of God is a lifelong process of seeking after God, and seeing God respond to your seeking. That is the truth of it.

If you've been hurt by religious people in the past, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, and I apologize on their behalf for what they did. We're suppose to represent Christ in this world as Christians and quite often we fail at that. I know I've personally failed at that time and again. But ultimately we can't look to Christ-followers for perfection, the whole point of Christianity is acknowledging our own sinfulness, our own shortcomings, selfishness, and turning to Christ for salvation and new life. We're between worlds right now, so Christians will always fail you. But Christ will never fail you, if you seek after Him.

If you don't know Him, then know Him. If you do know Him, then be a true Spirit filled born again follower of Jesus Christ. Be set on fire for Christ. Be excited for this mission. God has called you, in His will to a certain calling for your life. He will reveal it to you, and if He has, do walk in it, and do love it dearly. Love it with all your heart and do your very best at it. Be wise, and know His word clearly. Study it again and again. Be one of those rare Christians that truly brings the presence of God with you wherever you go. We see desperately need that sort of strong Spirit-filled Christianity today. There is so much compromise today, there is so much wishy-washyness in the church, and people are afraid to take a clear stance on difficult issues. Be bold, brave, and fearless. The people of this world desperately need you to be 100% all in for Jesus. Everything is at stake, everyday. Really live out the entailments of this Christian faith, recognize the ticking clock, the state of reality, and the future that is being offered to the human race. This is all real. That is the fundamental flaw of our modern Christianity, we've lived it out like it's a nice thing to talk about, when it's a true reality that should break through into every moment of our lives and completely transform how we see the world. And it will, if we'll just believe and realize how real and present it truly is.

Yes, life has meaning, yes, truth is knowable, yes, Christ is real, yes, the new world will come. It's all true. It's all real. And it was a shock to my entire world when I really realized that. I know it seems like there is little hope for our world. I know it seems like the darkness is too strong, and we are too weak. But those are just the sort of moments when God moves in and takes action to transform the world, when we know without a doubt that it must've been Him because we weren't strong enough to really make a difference. I don't really care about your politics, right, left, center, people can disagree and still love one another, what matters to me is your soul, and your eternal future. There is a God. He has designed the universe, this planet, the plants, animals, and the DNA strands in our body, and He will respond when you seek Him out. That is the craziest, most world shaking thing, when you seek out God and you realize for a moment as you sit alone in your room, that He's actually, really responding to your seeking. Now that will bring down the house of card
s, let me tell you.  It's true.  Good luck, and God bless. 

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