Category Archives: Evangelism

Defending your faith

When it comes to defending our faith, Christians make it too complicated. We try to figure out all sorts of arguments to convince someone God exists. We try to figure out ways to prove to someone Jesus was a real person. We try to figure out ways to get people to begin to believe in Jesus. We try all sorts of things. And honestly, I believe most of them fail.

I believe most of them fail because we are trying to argue a way in which scripture doesn’t tell us to.

Here is what the scripture says:

1 Peter 3:13-17

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (ESV)

 

 

 

I provided more of the context because we want to get our bearing on the text. If you read over it you will see that this passage is mostly about doing good and not worrying about suffering for doing good. Right in the middle is a portion that says that we must honor Christ the Lord as holy. This is key to doing good and to defending our faith. Why?

When we grow in our love for Christ and see Him as Lord over all, and as we separate Him in our hearts, making sure He has proper place and we desire to please Him and love Him above all, then defending our faith is easy. Then doing good is easy. Why? Because then we aren’t worried about pleasing man but God.

Now, there’s also a sentence that says “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” I want to point out a few things: 1) we must always be prepared to make a defense. 2) We must always be prepared to make a defense when someone asks. 3) What we are prepared to make a defense of is the hope that is in us.

The third part is so central to this. Remember, the context is about doing good for the sake of Christ even if you suffer for it, because you are blessed if you suffer for doing good. This means, people are asking what is your hope for when you’re suffering for the good you are doing? You see, in making a defense of the faith, we are not defending God, we are defending our hope. We are defending what we know to be true. We are answering the question, “why do you have hope when you’re suffering?”

The answer is: Because Jesus Christ is Lord. He suffered and died for doing good, and so I am blessed to suffer for doing good. Jesus Christ has all authority, and he knows my situation, and He will reward me for continuing to obey him in the midst of the evil I am suffering.

Now, I want you to see something. I want to apply this generally. When we speak to someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ, when we speak to an atheist, or an agnostic, or someone who believes in some other God, we don’t need to defend God. We don’t need to argue with people and prove to them God exists. We don’t need to prove to them the Bible is true. We don’t need to prove to them that what they’re doing is wrong. We simply have to speak the truth.

Remember, it is God who changes hearts, not us. Remember, it is the Holy Spirit that convinces people, not our arguments. So all we need to do is defend our hope. All we need to do is proclaim what is true.

I hope I have been clear because there is one more thing I want to point out that we forget as Christian or might not know well.

In Romans 1:18-29 it reads:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (ESV)

What I want to point out in this text is something key: unbelievers know God exists. Why is this key? Because often, when you go out and start talking to people, they will raise objections about God’s existence. And this passage says they do this because they suppress the truth that they know. They know God exists, they know He is real. It is clearly seen and perceived. This why when they die they have no excuse. They won’t be able to say, “But God, you didn’t give me enough evidence that you were real.” Why? Because Romans 1 says the opposite.

However, just because they know this doesn’t mean they know this. Huh? Now I’m confusing you. Well, yea, because the unbeliever is confused. You see, the passage says that they suppress the truth in their unrighteousness. This means that they may so hold the truth down that they no longer see what is plain to them. It’s like when someone repeats a lie enough they start to believe it. That’s the same thing here. They push away the truth so much and so often that they have put themselves in a state of confusion. They know the truth, and they hate it, and don’t believe it.

What does that mean for you when you talk to friends, co-workers, or people on the street? It means that God has clearly demonstrated himself to them. They know He is real. So don’t let them play you by saying “they don’t believe that.” The truth is, not that they believe God is real but that they hate God and don’t want to know Him. They don’t want to follow Him. Because of their sin they want nothing to do with God, and so they will either make their own God, or disbelieve in God. But deep down, because God has revealed Himself to everyone, they know He exists.

This means you don’t need to know any arguments for God’s existence. You just need to know God.

Now let me use an example to bring all this together. I borrow this from Sye Ten Bruggencate.

Say someone who doesn’t know you or your spouse well comes up to you and tells you that they saw your spouse out walking the streets at night, selling themselves for money.

How do you respond? Do you respond by proving your spouse is in bed by 9pm and wakes up at 6am? Do you respond by saying, well that could be true, but you might be wrong? Do you respond by finding evidences that your spouse doesn’t do that?

No. You don’t respond by trying to demonstrate your spouse doesn’t do that. You respond by saying, “Not my husband,” or “Not my wife.”

So don’t do the same with God. Don’t prove He exists, because you know He does. They know He does, as Romans says. Instead, you tell them the truth. “God is in heaven, and you will have no excuse when you are judged.”

Love the Lord more. And don’t fear man, but fear God. You don’t need arguments, you just need to know your Lord.


Suppressing Purpose

We live in such a world where the truth is obvious and in order to deny it you have to suppress it. Most people will deny this fact and if they were to argue with me they’d only prove my point by the constant “No, I don’t deny truth.” An assertion is not evidence nor an argument, but today what passes for an argument is nothing more than sparkles that dazzle the eyes and bass drops that stir the heart. There’s little substance other than what is perceived substance. Another truth suppression tactic.

As a Christian, I am upfront about my presuppositions. But, that word is too detached to real life. It’s more like, I am more upfront about telling the story I live in. I accept the story, love the story, and live in that story.

The story I live in is a complex, long, and glorious story about the constant death, burial, and resurrection. I live in a story that begins with an actual beginning which begun with a creator who is eternal. Eternal in the way many atheists believe in some form of eternal matter. And this creator created everything out of nothing. Which is where the debate begins. Is nothing really nothing? Some atheists would say nothing is actually something that is eternal. One atheist I heard say that things pop into existence all the time. I have no problem with that, very consistent with the creator God who can make anything from nothing all the time. However, this atheist said this to try to say “it just happens that way.” Which is an assertion, not an argument, and is words that try to suppress the truth.

As this God creates from nothing, that nothing becomes something by God’s sheer Godness. This thing that comes into existence is now an art piece of God, something that tells us about this God who made the thing, while being separate from that thing. Sorry people who argue about who created God. But by definition, God to be God He cannot have been a created thing or a part of the things created. Though truthfully, they agree, they just suppress their hearty approval of what we say by couching it in terms that try to deny God. They don’t want God to be the uncreated thing, they want the stuff we see to be the self-creating creation, or the uncreated thing because it makes itself, so it can’t be creation by definition, just “is what it is.” We can’t be held accountable to something that makes itself can we?

This stuff God makes is then shaped, formed, given order, given paths to follow, rules to follow, and given a purpose: “Declare my glory.” If this isn’t sounding like an awesome story, then you may want to go read some of the new atheist stuff, because a self-creating, purposeless world that somehow orders itself might be more up your ally. Though, ally’s might not have existed. Thank the purposeless and random chaos for that one. Even a good ol’ Norse God myth might be more interesting, but I must give props. The new atheists makes man to be the gods of this world and themselves, and that’s more bold than most of the old mythologies. But certainly not as interesting.

Next time I’ll have to get back to what I first said, and that has to do with the death, burial, and resurrection theme. Part of the whole “Declaring the glory of God” thing, you see.

But before I go, part of my argument is that everyone loves a good story about a man who is great, who gets to a low point, and then makes it out on top. It’s almost the theme of any good story, and that might be because this theme was woven into it all, and isn’t as random as many believe it to be.


Cut off those hands

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

(Matthew 5:27-30 ESV)

I had to note this because I once thought that I wasn’t radical enough because I wasn’t cutting off my hand or plucking out my eye. I mean, it says it right there! Both my eyes need to go, and both my hands need to be gone, and perhaps my feet and legs as well since they rush me to do evil. My mouth and tongue and voice box too, because I speak tons of sin. Heck, I need to dice up my whole body and throw it all into hell…. right?

If Jesus is calling all Christians to be blind and quadriplegic, then why didn’t the disciples help one each other out in doing just that? Why didn’t Paul, John, or Peter write about how to live this life as blind and handless? Some may say that Paul dictated most his words, so perhaps he did cut off his hands. However, Paul said himself at one point that he was writing, and he was writing big letters. So much for the apostles obeying Jesus.

The truth is the apostles did obey Jesus, so what gives? Why aren’t there more blind and handless Christians? The key is the word “if.” If your hand causes you to sin. Now, does our hand cause us to sin? Obviously no because Jesus says that adultery isn’t merely the act of sex with another man’s wife, but it’s looking at a woman with lustful intent. Where does the lustful intent come from? The heart.

So, if you’re following Jesus’ words here you need to rip out our hearts because it causes you to sin. But does God want you to murder? No. So how can you obey Jesus if you can’t murder yourself but you want to obey all Jesus told us to do and he’s telling us to rip out our sin box? The answer is short: the gospel.

Jesus is pointing us to the reality that we need new hearts in order to stop sinning. Our whole body will be thrown into hell because our hearts are what causes us to sin. You can cut yourself piece by piece and still go to hell because sin is apart of your very nature. We need a new heart and it’s God who said that He would pour out His Spirit in the last days and give His people a new heart. We cannot get clean on our own, we cannot obtain a new heart on our own, and we cannot obey on our own.

This is why Calvinism is true. The only people who will desire a new heart are the ones God is drawing to Himself. Anyone being drawn will plead with God for a new heart, which is required to be in the New Covenant. Which makes it all of grace and not of anything we do.

So, cry out to God, all you who sin. Ask for a new heart. Stop dealing with the external things, like hands and eyes. Go for the source. Go for the jugular of sin. Don’t plead for the strength to cut off your hands. That won’t do anything but throw your whole body into hell piece by piece.

Cry out to Christ for forgiveness. Call upon God. Trust in His work alone.

For my family who is already in Christ, continue to ask God for a renewed mind and for a hatred of sin and love of God. Ask Him to keep on drawing you do Himself. He is our only hope.


The Beginning: Evidence for God?

I asked the question, “Does God exist?” in my previous post “The Beginning: God vs gods of history.”

I made the claim that people have always felt, believed, and had an understanding of something greater then them. This claim is evidenced by the wonder we have for the universe, and the history of people always grasping to find out what’s the most powerful thing in the universe. Whether it be super humans we make out to be gods, or whether it be concepts like love, we know there is something that is beyond us. We see it in mountains and suns, and we feel it through emotions and pain.

But now I want to steer us toward more evidence for the existence of a god. The science and reasoning behind why there is something rather than nothing, and how something can come from nothing.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Ephesians 1:3-4)

In this passage I want to focus on the middle of the verse, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” If you look, you notice that he (God) chose us (Christians) in him (Christ) before the foundation (creation, laying out the boundaries, setting stars in motion, etc.) of the world (earth). So before the world was even given a foundation and created, there were men chosen in Christ. This is significant, not merely because God chose (which we will deal with later on in the blog) but because God had man in mind to be in Christ before He even began His work.

On Facebook, I posted this bit of verse and asked, “Does man support the worlds foundation, or does the existence of the foundation support man?”

Philosophers and philosophy, if not grounded correctly in truth and reality, will lead you to think you can’t know if anything is true or real. The mentality is “I support the worlds foundations and happenings with my mind! It’s my mind that says what goes goes, and I can only trust what it wants to do.” The reason, they will give, is because you don’t know if you’re merely a brain in a vat being stimulated to think the way you do. The problem with this is there is no evidence, no support for it in reality, and reality suggests otherwise. The deep flaw with this logic is that it makes you distrust everything and everyone, and therefore if you cannot trust anything then you might as well distrust the very fact you distrust yourself. If you distrust everything, even yourself, you’re putting too much trust in your distrust!

Observe and see that the world is real! Don’t close your eyes! Don’t close your pain and feeling receptors! There has been studies, debates, life, babies, mountains, solar systems, galaxies, fish, bugs, wind, particles, heat waves, and a thousand upon thousands of millions of other things going on that you have no control nor knowledge of until it’s brought up. Reality is outside of your mind. It’s outside of you. It’s outside of me. You will die and all of life will continue on. The sun will give it’s heat. The earth will rotate. The clouds will form and dissipate. You have no control over what will go on after you nor do you have control of what’s going on right now.

You do not support, create, nor have any say in what the world is going to be like.

The Bible and reality declare such a different reality. BEFORE THE FOUNDATION! You we’re chosen. Christian, before there was a ground to walk on. Before there were atoms to form you. Before there was an order to things how God wanted the universe to run, He chose you. This world was formed, fashioned, and made to tell and declare His glory (Psalm 19:1). Every day, God summons the the earth and speaks the sun from it’s rising to it’s setting (Psalm 50:1). This all speaks of, tells of, declares, exults, glories in God and His power. And this all is evidence, and foundation, and flooring, and wood walling, and marble tiling, and roofing for you to know that, this was all made to support your existence.

Declare His glory oh Earth! Shout His praise oh Heavens! And nurture, and coddle, and support man’s very being, oh universe. Without which, you’d be nothing.

I don’t desire to tax your patience in reading much, so I will connect this with scientific evidence quickly.

We have evidence that the universe began to exist. At the beginning point in time, the universe began to expand, grow, and form. For thousands of years, theologians had no evidence that the universe began to exist. But now, thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we have discovered the expansion of the universe and different types of waves that point to a beginning. A foundation began in the beginning, with the intention to declare His glory, and out of love came up with a plan to create man and reveal Himself to them.

What can be logically said, based upon our experiences, is this: Something doesn’t come from nothing. What begins to exist, has a cause. This universe shouts of an intelligence beyond our understanding. There have been plenty of theologians and philosophers who have debated and argued this and have solid evidence, one to which I will point you to: William Lane Craig.

Science is great and is good. I enjoy it’s fruit. But it only takes us as far as it can go. It can only tell us what is and how it works. From there, the rest we leave to history. And that history points to the Cross. History points to Christ, who we (Christians) have been blessed in.

May we revel in the glories of God!


The Beginning: God vs gods of history

And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. (1 Kings 18:26-29)

Does God exist?

Many people have believed in gods and goddesses. The majority of all great civilizations have believed in some supreme power. The problem with most of these civilizations is that their gods we’re in likeness to themselves.

Deep within man is the knowledge that there is something beyond themselves. It comes from the fact that we are on Earth without ever being asked if we wanted to be. It comes from the fact that trees are bigger than us, many animals are faster than us, and that things in the universe exist apart from us ever thinking about them. We are left in stunned silence as we see that there is something beyond us. We are not creators or inventors of the universe and what’s around us. We are merely observers and tourists, who see and are to stand in awe and wonder at the universe and world in which we have been placed.

Thus, we all acknowledge something bigger than ourselves. Whether it be a whale, a tree, a mountain, or a planet. From natural observations, it’s not a big leap to believe in a greater power, being, or thing that has ordered and organized and started, created, or thought of this all. It’s really not a hard stretch.

But where the problem arises is with our limited concepts. Most civilizations have made their gods to be more like themselves.  The Greek, Egyptian, and the Norse gods all have been created by man’s idea of what gods should be like, and those gods are really themselves in disguise. This is where problem begins: all of these gods are puny. They’re small. They’re mere men with super powers and long life. These puny gods thirst, hunger, feast, and have sex. They’re merely caught in the same urges as us. The only thing they do that is significant is control parts of the universe that they’re given to control. As far as I know, these gods decided who would rule and reign the areas they do by arguing and fighting,  which are more like human stories than stories of super beings.

This either puts gods on the stage with men or men on the stage with gods.  These gods of weak and limited powers don’t have the capacity to exist outside of the known universe. They exist solely inside of it.

But that’s where Christianity and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stands out. This is a being who has no form that any man has seen. This is a being who came to them. He revealed Himself to them, and never was He created out of their own fancy ideas. This is a being who decrees complete and utter respect, love, and adoration, unlike the gods who get drunk, have sex, and laze about upon Mount O-Drink-sus. God is a being who transcends time and space. God is in a category of His own, and exists in the realm of a god who has the power, capacity, and level of wonder that would exceed our wonder of the universe. This is a god who cannot be created in mans image, but can create man, and create a world, and can order the world, and can create other mini-gods to do as He commands.

Modern philosophers and scientists who try to put the God of Abraham into a category with the other gods have made a grave mistake. The only parallel between God and the other little g gods is the title of  ‘god.’ The puny g gods cannot even compare to God. A super human who calls the sun to rise is merely a super human, given the ability by a being greater to call the sun forth.

God stands forth as supreme and supremely different. Beyond comprehension and understanding. Beyond reach of time and space. The creator and inventor, not a being that is subjected to the dimensions of the universe.

Christians are not those who believe in fairy tales. All those beings are too weak. Like Baal (who was scoffed at by Elijah as either a god on a distant journey or a god going to the bathroom), all the other gods lived and died in their time. But God is a God who transcends all things and yet acts and answers those who seek Him.

And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:36-39)

The Lord, He is God! And there is none besides Him.


The Beginning: Lost in Darkness

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The beginning of the gospel, the beginning of the Bible, the beginning of your life, and the beginning of a new life all starts with God.

The debate of the century is “Does God exist?” And Christianity has never been short of providing logical, verifiable, and factual evidence for God’s existence. The notions that God opposes science or that science triumphs God are birthed out of ignorance of fact and logic.

That is to be expected. Logic is no longer taught in the American schools. The way the school system works is a method of brainwashing. Opening up the heads of children, stuffing in whatever the curriculum defines as “fact,” and tactfully lining the thoughts and minds of children with new age, postmodern, and gnostic philosophy. Children are not taught to think for themselves. How do I know this? Because I grew up in the system. I was plugged into the Matrix, so to speak. And the unplugging leads into a whole other world. Not many can wield the freedom that logic and reason brings.

We all often are second-handers. (Second-hander: A person who looks to others to decide his values or beliefs)

What I thought was free will and choice in the way I was taught was really a foggy maze that kept me boxed into a world of ignorance (which isn’t as blissful as understanding) and blindness. What I thought was fact was really the misinformed, the misdirected, and the misinterpreted teachings of teachers who we’re given what they we’re suppose to teach. In Florida, where I live, they were even threatened in nonthreatening ways that they would lose their jobs. ‘Teach this way. Teach to this test. It’s all about the grades. Your paycheck depends on how well your students perform on a report card.’

A student is not taught to see, feel, think, and reflect upon what they observe in the world and in what they read in history. A student is not taught that their brain and heart are powerful tools of reasoning. Instead, their misinformed heads and hearts are lined with vain and idle and false philosophies. They become second-handers. The people who have performed the misinforming are keeping students trapped in the rat game of the Matrix, possibly because they themselves are plugged in. A slave to the system of circularity, acting as a battery to merely provide fuel and energy for the system. The very life is sapped from them, and they are lost in darkness because they are given no access to the true and full capacities of their mind and heart.

Ah, but there is hope. There is hope because God has always kept a remnant people to shine as light in the darkness. Not because of their own light, but because of His gift upon man. The light of life, found in Christ, displays truth, disperses falsehood, and brings to life the dead.

In order to be freed from such a game you have to see beyond what you’ve been taught, and that is difficult because you have grown up to not think or feel or see for yourself. You’ve been growing in the knowledge of false philosophies, like truth is relative, there are no absolutes, and you’re the master of your universe.

But I tell you, grow up. Try tell a bus that truth is relative when it smacks into you. Say that there are no absolutes to the thief that is stealing money from you, and he will say that the money is not absolutely yours, and tell the sun to stand still.

If you want to live, if you want to enjoy life to it’s fullest, if you want to have the maximum happiness, then don’t buy into the worlds fast and loose philosophies. Use your minds and use your hearts to their fullest capacities. And it is God who expands the minds, and broadens the understanding, and teaches the wise and discerning, and instructs in how to guard the heart. Who better than He who designed it all? The master of life. The designer of you.

Those who know the Truth, listen to the voice of Christ.