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Believing In Spite of the Evidence

I came across the following definition of Faith and Trust while researching something mentioned in Dr. Albert Mohler’sBriefing” podcast this morning. 20140822_183216

Faith is believing the truth. For faith to be faith, we must have a reason to believe.

Trust is nearly the inverse of faith, and God requires it as well as faith. It is believing in spite of the evidence.

I was researching these definitions while trying to grapple with a line of thinking presented by a “musical collective” known as Gungor. This line of thinking and belief system seems to be trending in the “Christian” music world, and in modern evangelical circles. The line of thinking is that we don’t need to actually believe the biblical text as it refers to creation, the flood, Jonah and the big fish, etc in order to accept the teachings of Christ and believe in Him. In so doing they are willing to accept that Jesus did the miracles the text describes but they are unwilling to accept the obvious miracles God did in creation and the others mentioned above.

As I was thinking through all of this I began reading some of the comments in reference to the “What We Believe” page of the Gungor website. I’d like to post these comments here. I believe they are relevant, and sum up the way I think about faith. I trust in the biblical text; it contains all the information about God that He desires for us to know.

Ashley writes:

I hear the questions and the struggles to know what all of this means. But it really comes down to a simple question: Am I willing to trust God when He clearly tells us in His word who He is (that doesn’t mean every detail about him is perfectly known, but He gives us a clear knowledge of His heart, character, perfection, plan and faithfulness to call us back to Himself).

If I’m willing to make the choice to trust Him, there will still be times of confusion and bewilderment, but His word IS the authority to guide me in seeking Him and walking with Him through the ups and downs and wildernesses of life.

If I’m not wiling to choose to trust Him, then all of these very deep questions about belief and meaning and which authority trumps which – become very disorienting. Everyone becomes their own answer and goes after what works for them, and order, logic, truth and beauty become meaningless to us because in our minds and hearts we have made powerless the common denominator to all existence. That is God’s loving lordship over everyone and everything in this world. And my place is simply to trust my Father and obey Him, even though most of the time I don’t feel like I understand.

Andrew writes:

That is pretty much what I’ve been thinking while reading this whole thing. I constantly struggle with my ability to understand aspects of God, creation, His timeline, and so forth. But when it comes down to it, the fact is, free will or not, I do not have the ability to understand fully all that which is presented in the bible as fact. I earnestly want to, but I alone cannot. Furthermore, the issues with the Garden of Eden, the flood and the Arc, Jonah and the whale, the world and all thing which inhabit it in a matter of a week versus evolution- these are things that naturally will be conceived as preposterous to the human mind. We don’t know the reason for these occurrences or why God chose them to be in the book described as, “His word”. But they are there, and for good reason too, that we can rely on since God has them in there. If these things are considered so outrageous, than what about a virgin being impregnated with the Son of God? What about every single miracle Jesus performs in the New Testament? Some of them are just so beyond what I could ever imagine seeing! Walking on water?!

My point is, why should some be taken as within the realms of God’s power and others not? Especially when we cannot even begin to conceive all that which is in His power. “Lean not on your own understanding…” Why? Because we don’t have the ability to fully comprehend mighty power with which God moves and all the He is capable of. If we believe the Bible to be the word of God, then we should take it as that 100%. Even what we do not understand through and through, because God says too. And just have faith in God. And let go, and patiently wait for Him to reveal what He sees fit for each one of us to understand when He sees fit to provide those revelations. Because, if we don’t, we end relying on our own intellectual capabilities to seek and provide us answer to the hard questions for us, rather than fully trusting God and His plan, and His timing.
This was not to be this long. I just wanted to say, faith is so very powerful, as is relying on God fully for understanding and comprehension rather than figuring out some possible alternative to the truth out of impatience and intellectual arrogance. But, then again, in the grand scheme of things, does it matter individually whether we perceive the infamous “stories” of the Old Testament as just that, stories? Or does it speak volumes of our inability to have a faith like a child? I don’t understand a lot of things myself, but pray for God to reveal His truth on things He wants me to understand, and to provide me peace and faith like a child for that which He deems unnecessary at this point in my walk. And in that way, He helps me keep my concerns on what truly matters-loving as He loved, receiving His grace and mercy daily in my life, and relying on Him for and in all matters of my life believing that He will finish the work He began on me so that I can serve Him out love, through love- thus growing my knowledge of Him, my love for Him, and fueling my desire for obedience to Him and serving through actions of love.

I recommend listening to the podcast referenced above and then going to the Gungor Music web page and read about their faith and some thoughts on Christianity which are trending these days.

Please pray for Christ’s Church today, that this trend will be short lived. Because eternity is at stake.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day brothers.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, arrow_bowchief
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them! (Psalm 127:3-5)

I am indeed a blessed man.

Happy Father’s Day brothers.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Father's Day, Psalm 127

 

A Sad Day For Tampa Bay

Lately in the news we’ve all been reading about the lack of ethics, and personal character of professional team owners. But what we aren’t reading or hearing about are the real owner/heroes who glazerweb29s-1-webhave exhibited character, care for their team, and professionalism. One of those just passed away yesterday, Wednesday, May 28th. His name is Malcolm Glazer. Glazer purchased the Tampa Bay football team in January of 1995. He and his family have owned of the Buccaneers ever since. Glazer immediately hired Tony Dungy, the successful defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, as the head football coach. Dungy turned the Bucs into a defensive powerhouse, and by 1997, a team with a winning record. In 1997 the Bucs were 10-6.

I was living in the Tampa Bay area in 1995, and I vividly remember reading about Malcolm Glazer and his impact on the team, and the Tampa Bay community. In the community, Glazer founded the Glazer Family Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting charitable and educational causes in the Tampa Bay community. During its existence, the foundation has donated millions in programs, tickets, grants and in-kind contributions. The foundation donated $5 million toward the construction of the Glazer Children’s Museum in downtown Tampa, which opened on September 25, 2010.

Not only did Malcolm Glazer have an impact on his community, but he also impacted individuals. Many of the NFL players who played for the Buccaneers, under Glazer ownership, remember him as a very personable man, who’d approach them with words of encouragement, and acknowledge, with pride, their efforts on and off the field. Many of those players include Ronde Barber, Warrick Dunn, and Shaun King. This is what former starting quarterback Shaun King had to say:

An amazing man, So personable and kind. He used to come up to me after every game when I was the starter and say, ‘I’m so proud of you, Shaun.” 

Malcolm Glazer has made an impact on many players and coaches under his ownership. With the hire of Tony Dungy, coaches like Jim Caldwell, Lovie Smith, and Herm Edwards, would make their impact on the NFL as head coaches themselves. If there were a such a thing as a great legacy, Malcolm Glazer would be in the top 5.

Side note: I don’t know what is spiritual status with Jesus was, hopefully he trusted him as Lord, or all the “good” things Glazer did would be moot eternally.

 

Fore!

My first opportunity to earn money was by caddying for local golf courses around the Columbus, Ohio area. I was one of the first caddies to carry clubs for golfers at Muirfield Village Golf Club (the course that Jack built). I learned the golf-instruction-800X800ethics, manners, and how to play the game from my dad and by personal observation. I was able to practice and hone my swing by taking advantage of caddie Mondays. Each Monday during the spring, summer and fall, the golf courses would close for maintenance and allow the caddies to play all day long for free. I’ve never had an official golf lesson or any professional instruction. All that changed today but I will conclude this post with that later.

As a caddie I carried clubs for some great golfers such as Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, and Tom Watson. I was actually caddying for Tom Weiskopf in a Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio when I met Jack Nicklaus for the first time. During the tournament I tried real hard to work up the nerve to ask Jack Nicklaus a question I’ve always wanted to ask him. The question?

When my dad was in high school he played on the high school golf team. He played for the North High Polar Bears. A young rising golf star from opposing Upper Arlington, home of the Golden Bears, also played golf. His name? Jack Nicklaus.

My mother, on several occasions, would show me a newspaper clipping she received from my dad’s mother that reported on a high school golf tournament between North High and Upper Arlington in which Stan Schneider, my dad, tied one young Jack Nicklaus at 70 on the Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course. My grandmother had no idea at the time she clipped that story out of the paper that this young Jack Nicklaus would become one of the most successful professional golfers of all time.

So back to the question for Jack Nicklaus that was never asked. As you can guess, it would have gone something like this:

Mr Nicklaus, do you remember paying to a tie of 70 with an older student golfer from North High school on the OSU Scarlet course? That older student golfer is my dad.

My dad lost his eye sight due to diabetes at the age of 30 but he never lost his love for the game of golf. I remember caddying for him on several occasions. He was completely blind, but I would help him by giving him my yardage estimate to the pin, placing the golf club head behind the golf ball, and he’d swing away. Most times it was an amazing shot.

All that to say, I had my very first professional golf lesson today. I haven’t picked up a golf club in almost four years so I knew my golf swing would need some major analysis and correction after such a long time. I signed up for a series of five lessons at Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was right, my swing doesn’t suck, but it can really use some pointers and patience. Thanks to my pro Denis, I am learning some excellent tools and having a blast ramping up my game again.

 

How to avoid spiritual nearsightedness

I have been inspired by the latest sermon from my pastor, Mike Rue at our local church, Calvary Baptist Church, to do a short blog posting. The sermon series is a verse by verse study of the second epistle of Peter titled “Know”, as in to difference-between-nearsighted-and-farsighted“know” God. This past Sunday we delved into chapter 1 verses 3-11. I know it seems like a large chunk of scripture to bite off at once, but the context seems to warrant the large bite. The section of verses teaches the believer how to recognize and experience spiritual growth. During the sermon the one verse that attracted my focus was verse 9.

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

The context of this verse is a counter that refers to the qualities that mark the believer in Christ mentioned in the previous verses. A growing Christian should be one who supplements their faith in Christ with virtue, and virtue, with knowledge, and knowledge, with self-control, and self-control, with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. As Peter mentions in verse 8:

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just like The apostle John writes in 1 John 5. He writes these things so that you may know that you have eternal life. The apostle Peter also gives us encouragement in what are qualities of the believer in Jesus Christ. I pray that these qualities are found in me and by the grace of God increase my vision to 20/20.

 

Yoking For Impact

Yesterday, Saturday April, 26th, thirteen of us from our local church, yoked up with hundreds of others to pack food to be impact lives schoolshipped to the Dominican Republic. We, and many others partnered together to fill baggies of rice, soy protein, dried veggies, vitamins mixed with chicken broth and packed them into boxes that held 36 baggies. We were also partnering with Impact Lives. Impact Lives is a non-profit organization (501-c-3) that combines leadership training, education, and service learning experiences, with social and humanitarian works. 

The packing work we did was done in the local high school in Cairo, NE. The packing happened in three 2 hour shifts, beginning at 8am and ending at 2pm. We were part of the last shift, and were able to be a part of the daily tally toward their goal of over 285,000 baggies. This was simultaneously going on at other local High Schools around the country. During our shift we packed over 67,000 baggies which took them to the goal set for that location.

Impact Lives has raised most of their funds to begin shipping the packed foods to the Dominican Republic but they are still about $9000 short of what they need to accomplish this. I ask that you please pray about giving toward this work so the foods can be shipped to their destination. If you would like to donate please link here and select “Nebraskans Impacting The World” in the campaign drop-down.

Below are some photos from our work there.

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Post Tenebras Lux

Post Tenebras Lux is the motto coined by John Calvin way back in the Church reformation heyday. The phrase simply means “After Darkness, Light”. I heard this term again today in Dr. Albert calvins pulpitMohler’sDaily Briefing“. The “Daily Briefing” is a daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations.

Anyway, the phrase “post tenebras lux” reminded me of a wonderful video I had seen a few years with John Piper, shot in Geneva as he walks around many of the reformation sites there. He gives the viewer a wonderful history lesson. I wanted to share that with my readers today.

 

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