The Israelite War Cry

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 31, 2014 4 comments

“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, do not be afraid neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” ~Joshua 1:9 NKJV

One of the biggest challenges many professing Christians in America face is the realization that we are at war. In America, we are not challenged like the Christians in the Middle East, or China, or Vietnam, or North Korea. And when we are, we tend to blow it off. We don’t realize that we have an enemy out there whose sole purpose is to steal, to kill, and to destroy. We also don’t realize that God has empowered up and equipped us to face this foe and push his forces back. As Christians, we live in enemy territory. We are in the world but not of it. We are ambassadors to this world. This is not our home. We are sent into the world, not to suffer, not to endure persecution. Though that is what best proves our faith, that is not why we are still on this planet as a Christian. Our purpose, for still being here as a born-again Christian, is to go out and rescue the lost. To go and declare war not on the lost but against the powers of darkness, against the authorities that imprison the lost. And God has equipped up to do that job. He sends us out as sheep amongst wolves, but we serve a God who loves to do the impossible. And to demonstrate his power and his glory, he loves to put us in impossible situations. So when we face such impossible odds, let us go forth and charge to claim the victory that God has promised up. Why should we fear defeat when God does not send us out to lose but to win?

One reason we don’t make a stand in this war is because we lack a war cry. I never bought into a war cry for the longest times. I always saw it as a waste of energy and a waste of your voice. I understood the arguments of how it riles you up and how it is meant to invoke fear into your enemy. But I did not understand how it really worked, until this last year when I heard a short sermon from Eric Ludy, the senior pastor at the Ellerslie Mission Society in Northern Colorado. The short sermon was about the war cry used by the Israelite army, particularly when conquering the Promised Land. And that was war cry is “Rak Chazak!”

What is this? What does it mean? It comes from the phrase Rak Chazak Amats. Let us define these words and you can find them in your Strong’s Concordance in Joshua 1:6,7, and 9.

“Rak”: It is a plead, an emphasis. If only we could be this, if only you would do that. Rak is that cry where all you need is this or that which follows it. In Joshua 1:7, Rak translates into the NKJV as “only.”. A special plead to follow through with what follows.

“Chazak” means to stand firm, to hold your ground. In all three verses it says “Be Strong”. It means to strengthen, to fortify, to withstand, to prevail. It means to be the man. Chazak is what it is to take a look at your opponent in the eye, to grip your sword so tightly that your hand will clave to it. Chazak is what it takes to tell your opponent, “I don’t care who you are, how big you are, how strong you are, how many you have, you are going DOWN!”

“Amats” is the rest of it. Chazak means to be strong. Amats means to be courageous or to be of good courage. Amats is the unwavering, unyielding confidence of victory before the field is ever taken. It is being alert and ready for anything Amats does not care about the odds, it does not care about the impossibilities. Amats says, “Let’s get this job done!” What examples do we have of what Chazak and Amats looks like? What about David versus Goliath. This is not just a mere story of the little guy beating the big guy. This really happened. There was a real David and there was a real Goliath. And David slew the giant with Chazak and Amats. What about his Mighty Men? Jashobeam killed 800 men in one battle. Eleazar stood and defended a field to the point where his hand literally froze to his sword. He could not let it go. Three of David’s Mighty Men drew water from the well of Bethlehem, while it was occupied from the Philistines. They traversed 12 miles of rocky, mountainous terrain, fighting through a Philistine garrison, drew the water, and fought their way back with the Philistines on their tails. Just for a cup of water for King David. That is Chazak and Amats. The list in 2 Samuel 23 goes on.

What would happen today if we as believers got Chazak and Amats? What would that look like? What would it look like if we were to fearlessly proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ no matter what the odds, no matter what opposition came our way? What would it look like if we were to hunker down and fight our battles on our knees in prayer? What would it look like if we were to get off our comfortable seats and go to the places that most won’t? What if we were to do more than just feed the hungry, but spend time with them? Listen to their stories? What about the starving in Africa, or the victims of the cartel and gang violence of Juarez, Mexico? What about your neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet? What would it look like for the church to be the church?

Rak Chazak! We cannot let ourselves get comfortable. We have an enemy that is out to not just destroy us but to get us to believe we are ineffective for the battle. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Some 150,000 people die every day and go to hell because they have not accepted the gift of Jesus Christ. What are we doing about it? Our generation today is the first generation that has ever lived that can get the Gospel to every person on this planet. And the Bible is available in more formats and languages than ever before. What are we doing with this amazing opportunity? Rak Chazak, Worldview Warriors!

Our enemy is going to fight to keep you from engaging in the battle. If you are not fighting, he won’t worry about you and he will continue to devour whom he can devour. What if you can rise up and make a stand, take the hit so that someone else does not have to? What if you can draw the enemy’s attention towards yourself so that someone else can get a chance to get back onto his feet? You have the skills and the armory to fight against this enemy. Will you? Rak Chazak!

No matter what the enemy throws at you. No matter what odds you face. You serve a God who loves to do the impossible. So charge forward with the confidence and faith that he will come through. Take your orders from the true Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. We go in as sheep, but the sheep of our God will beat the wolf pack. Do not be afraid! Stand your ground! The victory is yours! Go out and claim it! RAK CHAZAK!
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Can't there be other ways to God than through Jesus? - Not even for Nicodemus

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 30, 2014 2 comments

Coming up at the end of this weekend, we have the most popular sporting event of the year in our country. I’m of course talking about the Super Bowl. Some gather to watch it just because it’s a reason to party. Others watch the game to see the newest and most clever commercials. Many more watch it because they actually like football. Right now, millions of people are making plans for the game and are hearing and learning new information about the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Many who haven’t watched a single game all season will watch the Super Bowl and be able to talk about the game, the halftime show, and the commercials the next day at work.

I don’t know if it will happen this year or not, but I can remember when I was younger seeing at least one person at the Super Bowl every year that had a sign saying “John 3:16” on it. It would be accurate to say that John 3:16 is kind of like the “Super Bowl of Scripture”. There’s a good chance you could quote your favorite translation of it right now and many who know nothing else about the Bible know at least a little bit of this verse. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). The problem is that many who know the verse don’t know the context of it. I’ve said before that the books in the Bible were originally written without chapters and verses, so they weren’t meant to be read out of context. In this case, the words were spoken by Jesus himself and they were spoken directly to ONE man.

The story in John 3 deals with Nicodemus, who was “a member of the Jewish ruling council” (v. 1). The commentary in my Expositor’s Study Bible states that Nicodemus was said to have been one of the three richest men in Jerusalem. He comes to Jesus, calls him “teacher” only because he doesn’t understand that he is God in the flesh, and tells him that they know he has come from God based on the miracles he has done (v. 2). Jesus responds, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (v. 3). He was telling Nicodemus that regardless of his religion, he couldn’t even begin to understand anything about God without being born of the Holy Spirit (vv. 5-8). Throughout their conversation, Nicodemus continues to try to understand it intellectually. But Jesus makes it clear that being born again by the Holy Spirit is not something you simply “figure out”. It’s something you experience without understanding in the same way you experience wind without knowing its direction (v. 8).

The story continues with Jesus referencing an event from Numbers 21:4-9, where God commanded Moses to make a statue of a snake and put it on a pole so that those who had been bitten by poisonous snakes could look up at it and be saved. It was their ONLY hope for salvation in Israel. In the same way, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he will be “lifted up”, referencing the crucifixion, so that “everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:15). With that, the stage is set for the “Super Bowl” of Scripture verses. Jesus again declares that it is only through him that people are saved from their eternal death. The NIV says “one and only Son” and other translations say “only begotten Son”. I was taught since I was very young how amazing it is that God would give up his only son for me and it was likened to other parents who only have one child. However, this completely undersells what God did for you and me. The Greek word for that phrase actually means “only and UNIQUE” (The Greek New Testament [caps mine]). Do you see the difference between what we think when we first read the words and what the original language says? This wasn’t a big deal because it was God’s only son. It was a big deal because Jesus Christ is the ONLY and UNIQUE one of his kind there ever was or ever will be! No one else came from God, no one else was the perfect sacrifice, and no one else was God in the flesh.

Jesus is the only way to God because he is the only one who COULD be. Others claimed to be the Messiah in early centuries before and after Jesus. There were even some who were ascribed the title unwillingly by their peers. John the Baptist was one such person. He was a prophet whose sole purpose was to be a forerunner for Jesus and to prepare the way for him (Matthew 3:2-3). He had disciples who falsely believed he was the Messiah even when he told them he was not. Later in John 3, he testifies again as to who he is and who Jesus is. He completes his testimony to his disciples by echoing the words of Jesus to Nicodemus. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (v. 36).

The disciples of John the Baptist gave up their lifestyle and followed him in the desert as he prepared the way for Jesus, yet only faith in Jesus as the one who took God’s entire wrath which they deserved could save them. Nicodemus was a rich and religious man who knew the Scriptures that we refer to today as the Old Testament. But only a spiritual rebirth that came through faith in Jesus as not just teacher, but also God in the flesh who came to die for his sins, could save him. So it is for you and me. Regardless of what advantages or disadvantages we’ve had in our lives, our need for Jesus levels the playing field. There is no other way to life with God except through him.
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Mugged in the Wrestling Room

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 29, 2014 0 comments

When most people think of faith, they think of belief in something that is unseen. When others think of faith, they automatically think of physical action; putting their faith to work. But I tell you what, there are times when practicing one’s faith requires a person to endure, allow, and turn the other cheek. It is this type of faith that some people might mistake as weakness or passivity. In the situations where this sort of faith is required, it is often the most difficult sort of faith to employ. Welcome to Downtown State University’s wrestling room.

There is a reason why I skipped any details about the first day of practice. It was uneventful and kind of boring. Don’t get me wrong, I woke up very sore this morning but at least I wasn’t banged up, bruised, or requiring stitches. Today is a different day. The morning session was not too different from yesterday. We did a routine circuit lift, where each person lifted weights at every station and every machine for one minute straight. The second session was the real deal. We were engaging in our first “live” practice day. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with that term, it simply means that we were going to end practice with full go, no holding back, all-out wrestling.

We were nearing the end of practice and coach Maximus pooled us all into groups of three people.

“Listen up, everybody. We are going to play a little game called ‘shark bait.’ This game is kind of like ‘king of the mat,’ but instead of the standing person coming out as soon as he is taken down, he will remain the active wrestler for a full ten minutes while the other two rotate as they wrestle against him for thirty second goes. All three people will go through this rotation. Good luck.”

Let me remind you at this point that I am just a freshman. Coach Maximus, for whatever reason, decided to place me with a senior and his student assistant coach. The seniors name is Grant Jordan. This guy was born and raised in the ghetto and he looked the part. Rugged dude, loved to lift weights with his shirt off, and did not treat you with respect unless you first earned it from him. Instead of replacing the coaches name entirely, I am going to give you a hint of what his true identity is. Today he is known as “the Hurricane.” At that time he had just completed his final year of collegiate wrestling and was a four time national qualifier. Needless to say, I am out of my league in this match-up. And unfortunately, because I lacked seniority, I was the last one in the three man rotation.

Hurricane and Grant had the first thirty second go. I observed them, but not a whole lot was happening; just a lot of standing around. There were several instances where they engaged on another in tie-ups, but they quickly broke out. The first thirty seconds was up…my turn. It was Hurricane versus myself. I am a highly offensive wrestler, so I immediately start setting up my first move. Once I spotted my opening, I attacked his legs, knowing that it probably would not end well. Hurricane blocked me, but nothing else happened. I regained my balance, stayed tied up with him, and finally realized why not a whole lot had happened in that first thirty seconds between Hurricane and Grant. After regaining my footing, Hurricane lowered his hips, shifted his weight, and launched me a good five feet off of the mat, across his body, in a perfect hip-toss. As demoralizing as it may sound, I was actually quite honored to have taken part in such a well-executed move…I just wish I were the one hitting the throw and not being thrown. My first thirty seconds live expired and Grant was back in. The next few times I had learned from my mistakes and did not get schooled quite as badly by Hurricane, but still pretty bad. When his ten minutes were up, Grant was in for his first ten.

Grant squared-off against me and I immediately engaged him as I had Hurricane. This time it was a little different. He and I were a little closer in skill-level, yet with Grant still possessing a clear advantage. Towards the end of the first thirty seconds, he hit a throw on me and took me down. So both Hurricane and Grant were throwers.

The next thirty seconds, I adjusted my strategy. Grant pulled a quick throw on me and took me down, but I immediately escaped and got back up and busy. He was a little more confident and I knew at that point I had him where I wanted him. He approached me again, preparing to set up another throw, but I popped his arms up as he reached for me and tackled his legs with all my strength. He fell backwards and I collected my first takedown in the practice room. That thirty seconds expired and I had ignited a fire in Grant. I watched as he squared off against Hurricane. He was clearly not happy, but dared not lose his temper. Our next couple of goes we were fairly evenly matched, with him still leading me in points. Close to the end of his ten minutes he started getting more aggressive.

I tied up with him, and we were clenched for two or three seconds when I noticed a shock come from the right side of my head. Grant’s elbow caught my right cheek bone and I was knocked slightly off balance. I was just enough off balance for Grant to capitalize and take me down. But he was not finished. While I was down he grinded his elbow into the back of my head to keep me down just long enough for the time to expire. From then until the end of Grant’s ten minutes, he was especially aggressive.

My turn was up. I knew that this was not going to be pretty; Grant and Hurricane taking turns hammering away on my already broken exhausted body. Me versus Hurricane for the first thirty seconds, it was not pretty but I survived. Once again, Grant stepped forward for his first go. At that point he hated me and it was payback time for the past ten minutes.

He came down aggressively in a strong tie-up, hammering the back of my head with his hand. I countered and squared up with him gripping him forehead-to-forehead.

“Come on,” he said in a muffled but intimidating voice, “show me what you got.”

I broke the tie-up and shot in at his legs to no avail. He crashed down on top of me with his hips to end our thirty seconds. I stood up to face Hurricane only to be shoved back down to the mat by Grant, from behind. Hurricane took full advantage and pounced on my back.

“Let’s go Ryan, this is for real now.” Said Hurricane.

Grant came back in after thirty, it was on. He went for a tie-up and threw a punch, but I saw it coming. I ducked and slipped behind him, but did not have the strength to take him down. He threw elbows wildly. I was getting fatigued.

Hurricane was back in. Instead of waiting for his onslaught, I shot for his near leg. I caught it and began to elevate it only to have him maneuver his way out. That round went much like the other one’s I had against him. Grant came back in and continued his rage. At this point, I am almost losing my cool. Nothing left and taking abuse I start contemplating some serious retaliation. I was tired of his cheap shots and I wanted it to end.

We tied-up again and he slid off balance. If I wanted a cleaner shot at his face with my fist I was not going to have one. Oh, how gratifying it would have felt to take this guy down with one well-placed hit, but the Lord spoke to me at that moment. “Turn the other cheek,” were the words that resounded in my mind. I could not take the cheap shot. Instead, I threw him into a headlock that he easily escaped from and my body collapsed under its own weight. Hurricanes turn.

He jumped in and noticed that I was not moving a whole lot down on bottom. He started kneeing me in the side of my ribs. I tried to get up and he grinded his forearm into the back of my head. I was stuck. Time was running short and I do not remember who finished me off. All I remember is coach Maximus blowing the whistle and letting us know that the time was up and to start cooling down by jogging around the mats. It took me two or three minutes to stand up. I was so disoriented that I could not tell which direction my teammates were running, nor could I tell where my exact location was in the room. You might say that I was toast. After our cool down, we returned to the locker room, got showered, dressed, and started to leave.

Before leaving, I went to get a sip of water from the water fountain because I had lost fifteen pounds during that practice and was dehydrated. I leaned over to get a sip of water from the fountain and as I was sipping I heard a gruff sounding voice calling out to me.

“Hey man.” It was Grant.

“What’s up?” Was my response.

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry for what happened back there.”

I was actually sort of astonished and touched. I did not expect nor require an apology. I had never been assaulted like that in a wrestling room before, but I knew that was what happens in a college wrestling room.

Before he could get anymore words out of his mouth to express his guilt, I interrupted. “Don’t worry about it bro. I mean, that’s what it’s all about, right?” He got an ironic smirk on his face and I knew at that point I had won his respect. He did not utter another word, he just clasped my hand and gave me a big hug. From that day forward Grant and I had a totally different relationship. Had it not been for Jesus, he and I would have been the worst of enemies for the duration of his senior year and he would have been robbed of a great honor at the end of the season.

Did you see that coming? Grant and Ryan seem to be buds now. But what is this honor that Grant would receive since he and Ryan were going to get along from that point forward? You will have to wait to find out because next time we are going back to class to see what Dr. Derkins has to say.
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Elephant Hurling – An evolutionist’s best friend

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 28, 2014 4 comments

A major problem for evolution is there isn’t a single indisputable transition fossil when the record should be full of them. It was said that evolution is “obvious in fossils.” This tactic is known as elephant hurling and is completely false. The trouble for the evolutionist is that with the hundreds of millions if not billions of fossils that we have found, there is not a single fossil anyone can say for sure is slowly changing into a different type of organism. Most alleged “missing links” are later found to be false. The best contenders are made from a piece of jaw, a rib and a leg bone found on the same 10 acres of ground at varying depths. Darwin even said the fossil record was the most powerful evidence against his theory, and he believed in time it would reveal the evidence he needed. Over 150 years later, we’re still looking for a single piece of evidence in the fossil record. Now, some evolutionists will now say, “Every fossil is a transition fossil,” which apparently is supposed to make this catastrophic problem go away. But does it really? When we find a rabbit in the fossil record, we know it’s a rabbit. When we find a bird, we’re pretty sure it’s a bird. If a fish is found, no one disputes it. It’s a fish.

Continuing with the geologic column, we see there are no known processes that would add to the geologic column today. Common thought in the scientific community is that things are happening the same now as they were for the last few billion years. This, of course, is purely because the theory of evolution demands it. There is nothing that suggests this without first believing evolution is true. Catastrophism is the modern thought on the geologic column. This, of course, is what creationists have said all along. But the evolutionist is referring to local floods or volcanic eruptions or other catastrophes that allegedly say down a layer of the geologic column. How, then, are layers that span continents or even oceans explained? They’re not, really. A global flood would explain such features that are common in today’s landscapes.

http://www.icr.org/article/a-150-years-later-fossils-still-dont-help-darwin/
http://www.icr.org/article/draining-floodwaters-geologic-evidence/
Genesis 8:3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down...
http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/fountains-deep-discovered
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Can't there be other ways to God than through Jesus Christ?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 27, 2014 0 comments

Last week, I wrote about why Christians claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Even though Jesus clearly stated that He is the only way (John 14:6), many people think that there must be other ways. Why would a loving God limit us so much that there would be only one way to get to Him and to heaven?

Back to my post a couple weeks ago, Jesus is so important because He is the only one who can save us from the death that we deserve. But why do we deserve death?

I’m sure everyone knows someone who you’d call a good person. You know the type - that person who volunteers for those less fortunate, does service work, and is generally nice. What about that person, do they still deserve death? Can’t they get to God without Jesus?

Take a look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17, given to the people of Israel by God. How does your life stack up to those? Have you kept every single one of them perfectly, every single second of every single day of your life? I can say with 100% certainty that I haven’t. If you’ve broken even one of them just one time, you’re a sinner. That good person you know? I’d be willing to bet money that he or she has broken at least one of those commandments, probably more in fact.

Have you ever made something more important than God (Exodus 20:3)? Anything you’ve done in your life that isn’t 100% what God wants for you is making that thing more important than God. If that fits you, you’re a sinner. Have you ever been angry with someone? You’ve committed murder (see Matthew 5:21-22). Have you ever looked a person with lust? You’ve committed adultery (see Matthew 5:27-28). Have you ever been busy all seven days of the week, and not kept a Sabbath for God? You haven’t remembered the Sabbath as you were commanded (Exodus 20:8-11). I could go on through the rest of the commandments, but I know I’m guilty of a few of those already, and I would guess that you are too.

Remember, God made the world, so He sets the rules. His rule is that only a perfect person who has never broken a single one of God’s rules can approach Him. If you are guilty of breaking even just one of His rules, you deserve death.

Every person who has ever lived, who lives now, or who will ever live has (or will) break at least one of God’s rules - likely many more, and multiple times - with one exception. The only person who has ever lived or will ever live that has lived a completely, 100% perfect life is Jesus. He is the only one who has never broken a single one of God’s rules, therefore He is the only way that we can get to God.

There can’t be other ways to God than through Jesus Christ, because God made the world and it works by His rules.
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Anti-Bacterial Resistance

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 24, 2014 0 comments

One of the most commonly cited evidences for evolution is how bacteria gain immunity to antibiotic drugs. It is no secret that drugs are treated for one thing but then cannot deal with the next things. This is another example of why we are recommended to get a new flu shot every year. Because the virus had adapted to the vaccine from the year before. At least that is what people say.

What is really going on here? One thing that must take place for resistance to antibiotics to develop or evolve is to be exposed to the antibiotic before immunity is there. But here is the problem. They are looking at the entire population of the bacteria, not the individual ones. They cannot determine if the individuals are not already immune or not. The truth is, when a bacterium is found to be immune to one type of antibiotic, they are also found to be exposed to numerous other types of antibiotics, including types they had never been exposed to. Look at this quote from a lecture by Dr. Charles Jackson, a Creation Speaker from the Creation Truth Foundation with four degrees in Biology, Environmental Sciences, and Science Education:

“This past January Science (1/20/06) reported soil bacteria were tested against a mix of 21 old and new antibiotics. They were all -- already immune to at least 7 of the drugs. Some were immune to 15 of them -- already -- without evolving that resistance!!”

This report from Science shows precisely what I am talking about. Immunity never did evolve but was already there before the antibiotics were ever introduced.

And here is the nitty-gritty. What makes bacteria immune? It is actually a bonding peptide molecule (a type of protein) that enables the bacteria to grab other stuff it likes. When this peptide breaks down or does not function as it should, it cannot grab the antibiotics. And while this gives the illusion of a beneficial mutation, it is actually a breakdown of a previously functional protein, which overall does not benefit the bacteria. The “benefit” is actually only a benefit in the presence of antibiotics and not a benefit any other time.

So when a strain of bacteria “acquires” immunity, what has really happened? The antibiotics kill all the bacteria that are not immune. And the bacteria that were already immune survived. And when that generation of surviving bacteria reproduced to the next generation, that generation all received the immunity. And here is where the scientists will claim that immunity was acquired. But this is not actually true. The immunity was there the whole time and only those that had it survived. If a bacterium did not already have immunity, there would not be time for it develop one before the antibiotics would kill it.

As Dr. Jackson says in his talks: “Keep Thinking.”
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Why Christians Claim Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven - Personal Experience

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 23, 2014 0 comments

In this world, you can work extremely hard at something and give it everything you’ve got and still come up short of your goal. This is why many people won’t even set goals that are extremely difficult. They choose instead to avoid the bitter disappointment of failure. In just a few short weeks, much of the attention of the world will be turned toward the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Many of the athletes who will be competing get their chances only once every 4 years. They go through grueling training regimens while no one else is watching just for one chance at the gold medal in front of the whole world. Many try, but only one gets the ultimate prize. You can imagine the disappointment for those who fall just short.

Christians know what it is like to fall short of the goal. In order to be a Christian, one has to admit that he is in need of a savior because trying to meet the standard of perfection that our Holy God has set is something he has found to be unachievable on his own. That is why we often hear the word “surrender” associated with being a Christian. You can’t be a Christian by simply being born to Christian parents, going to church, obeying the law, and being kind to others. This is a foundational matter of Christianity. I’ve seen it written somewhere that “sitting in a pew doesn’t make you any more of a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car”!

Being a Christian is a personal choice for each human being, so each person’s experience leading up to the point when that decision is either accepted or rejected is absolutely crucial. In Monday’s post, Katie wrote about the authority of the Bible as the main reason why Christians claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven. For some, that is all that is needed to make such a claim. However, we learned in seminary about what is called the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral”. It was a concept developed by reformer John Wesley that suggests that we actually have 4 sources of authority when it comes to our faith – Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience. As the staff at Worldview Warriors talk about the Bible every week, we fully accept that we are using REASON to understand certain non-foundational things about the Bible that may not be perfectly clear in our translations. While most of us want to believe Scripture is our “primary” authority, I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t believe at least one TRADITION that is not clear in the Bible. My point is that whether we like it or not, we’re all prone to using the other sources to understand matters of our faith.

I want to talk to you about the importance of personal EXPERIENCE in understanding that Jesus is the only way to heaven. In Acts 11:26, we see that “the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch”. What is neat is to look back and see what happened leading up to that moment. Acts 10 is the story of how the world changed regarding Christianity. Before that point, the only followers of Jesus were Jews, and they called their faith the “Way” (Acts 9:2). But in Acts 10, we are introduced to Cornelius, who was a Gentile (meaning non-Jew). We see that he is “a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment”, and that “he and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (vv. 1-2). In other words, Cornelius did all the things that someone who might “earn” his way into heaven might do. The problem is that none of those things could save him.

The rest of the chapter is about God orchestrating through his Holy Spirit visions and events that would bring the Apostle Peter face-to-face with Cornelius. In addition, verses 23-24 also show us that each man had Jews and Gentiles with him, respectively. So God was setting the stage for Gentiles, who had worked hard at living rightly, to hear the gospel message because it was the ONLY thing that could save them! If their works were enough, why would God send Peter to share the gospel? In vv. 44-48, Cornelius and the other Gentiles received the Holy Spirit right before the eyes of the Jews who still stubbornly believed it was not possible for them. They were then baptized in the name of Jesus Christ as new believers. As news of this earth-shaking event spread throughout the region, true believers faced persecution and many went to the large city of Antioch. And for the first time, they were no longer Jews and Gentiles, but united as one body of CHRISTIANS.

You see, Cornelius heard the gospel message and his personal experience showed him that no matter how “devout and God-fearing” he was, he needed Jesus to save him from his sins. Many of the Jewish Christians of that day also believed in following the Law to attain righteousness. Yet, God brought every one of them to the same place of knowing that their works would not be enough to set them free from the penalty and trap of sin so they could spend eternity with Jesus. From that moment forward, the gospel you and I now hear today has been preached. We have heard that our works won’t get us into heaven. Yet, there are still many in the world who believe they will be eternally rewarded for simply “doing good”. If you are in that camp, please understand that the only difference between you and a Christian is that the Christian has personally accepted that his works won’t get it done. I accepted that in 1994 and am reminded of it often. We can only pray that you have that experience as well so that you will surrender to Jesus as the ONLY way to heaven.
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Bible 101

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 22, 2014 0 comments

Okay, so this college thing makes you a lot more laid back about the pace at which you take things than back in high school. Before heading over to Bible study, I was already on course to arrive late. To me, that was fine, because I was tired and I needed something before I passed out. I didn’t tell you this before, but I am a wrestler and we too are in two-a-days, so Megan’s previous sentiments were perfectly understandable but I am a fairly driven guy. I knew I had to get plugged into Bible study and I knew I had to do it the first week if I was going to take it seriously. Nonetheless, I felt it necessary to stop by the local cafĂ© and grab a smoothie before making an appearance. I got a large peach-pineapple smoothie with whipped cream on top. Needless to say, it was glorious.

As I said, I was running a little, uh, very late. In fact, by the time I got back to the dormitory I was not even expecting this Bible study group to still be there. After all, I was arriving about a half hour late. The name of the group was Bible 101. Sounded cool and I was not super-well acquainted with my Bible anyway, because, let’s face it – it is really difficult to pick up the Bible and just start reading it. Regardless of this reality, my attitude was something of the sort of maybe I can teach these guys a thing or two.

I head up to the appropriate floor, which by the way, happened to be on my floor in the lounge area, and glance in to see if anyone is still hanging out. I turned the corner, straw protruding from my smoothie secured in my mouth, to see a handful of people (no more than six) huddled in the lounge discussing some passage from the Bible they had just read. One of them noticed me. A man, late thirties, tall, thin, and very kind looking.

“Come on in.” He said.
At this point, I’m slightly embarrassed. I hadn’t even had time to return to my room to grab my Bible. Still, I felt it would be rude to decline this gentleman’s invitation, so I came in.
“Hi. Is this Bible 101?”
“That would be us.” Was his reply.
“Good to meet you! I’m Ryan.” I spoke with absolute confidence, regardless of the fact that I was horrified to see that I was walking in on a Bible study that had been going on for about a half hour before I arrived. “What are your names?”
They all looked toward me and introduced themselves.
“I’m Tim,” said the tall man, “and this is my wife, Stacy.”
A gentleman that was shorter than I looked toward me, “My name is Nick.”
The next two were sitting together, clearly newlyweds. “I’m Stu,” said the man. “And my name is Ashley.”
The last one was a shorter woman, clearly not a student, sitting to the right of Tim and Stacy. “And I am Margaret. This is Bible 101. You should join us.”
It was a very warm environment. I could tell that these people had been together for a while. They all seemed to know their Bible’s very well. How did I know that? If you ever saw a small handful of people who were totally zoned in on a book as thick as the Bible, talking about it like it was familiar territory, you would have thought the same thing.
“You got a brain freeze, or something?” asked Ashley.
“Huh?” I was confused.
“Well, you haven’t said a whole lot. Tell us something about yourself.”
“Oh, well…I’m a freshman, I come from a big family, I wrestle – I actually just had my first official practices today, and I want to be a pre-med major.”
“Oooo, sounds grooling.” Said Margaret. “How’d your first day go?”
“Not so bad, but I have to say that my Biology class today was kind of rough.”
“I could imagine,” said Tim. “I took all of those classes a long time ago and they were tough back then. I can’t imagine how it would be now.”
We continued the small talk for a few more minutes. Then, I excused myself so that I could grab my Bible from my room. When I returned we jumped back into the Bible study.
“Okay,” said Tim, taking charge, “turn to Romans chapter twelve.”
My mind thought, “Romans, Romans, Romans…what’s Romans?”
“I’ll give you all a moment to turn there.” Tim said patiently.
I opened up the Bible from the front and started flipping quickly through the pages, keeping my eyes locked like a laser on the upper right corner as I watched the title of each book breeze by. I could not find Romans! I paused for a moment. My brief pause gave Tim the impression that I located Romans.
“Now, could we have someone volunteer to read verses one and two?”
Nick volunteered, “I will! ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’”
While he was reading, I thumbed to the beginning of the Bible again and noticed an index that told me the page number of Romans, “Page 1247.” I stealthily turned there in time to catch verse two…sorta.
“’And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Nick finished, and I was lost.
My Bible didn’t say what his Bible said. I checked multiple times to make sure that I was indeed reading Romans 12:1-2. It didn’t say anything about beseeching. What does it mean by ye? And my goodness, could somebody please teach the guy who wrote this some proper grammar!? But I thought about Nick’s reading and remembered that there are more than one translation of the Bible in circulation in English. I finally was able to make sense of it after thinking for a few minutes.

From that point on we went around the room and took turns reading. After going around the room, it was my turn and I was picking up after Stacy and I was reading verses nine and ten. Looking at the page, I was already confused, but I started reading anyhow.

“’Love,’” I paused a moment, because this word was above the following paragraphs, “’nine; Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Ten; devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.’”
“Um…” Ashley, I could tell was trying to be as polite as she could, “you know that you do not have to read the headings and the verse numbers, right?”
I was still confused. “What do you mean?”
Margaret walked over and pointed accordingly. “You see this word at the top, here? That is not actually part of what the Bible says. That is actually something that was added to help people navigate through the Bible. And these numbers,” she pointed accordingly, “you do not have to read the numbers.”

I was in awe. These people had to have thought that I was an absolute numbskull. But they were so patient and kind, nonetheless, as though this was something that happened all of the time. Despite their courtesy and humility, I knew that this was going to be a long Bible study. And these were just a few of the humiliating episodes I put myself through during the year’s first meeting for Bible 101.

Ryan’s first day of wrestling practice, school, and Bible study are complete. You won’t want to miss the next part of Ryan’s journey through college. The first day of wrestling practice was easy. Day number two, will be much more challenging. Be ready to see him get mugged in the wrestling room and how he deals with it.
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Fully Formed and Complex

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 21, 2014 0 comments

People have been working hard for over 150 years to describe how the process of Darwinian evolution would have started, abiogenesis. They have yet to come up with a viable explanation. If we do not have viable explanation of how this started, how then can we trust it to describe what happens after that?

The “Cambrian Explosion” describes the abrupt appearance of life in the geologic column, the rock layers that everyone is so familiar with. The oldest rocks in the column that have fossils in them are the Cambrian rocks. They contain very large numbers of organisms – and below them, there is virtually nothing. Interestingly, those fossils found there are fully formed and complex. In other words, organisms with fully functional eyes, skeletal frames and many other complex and fully functional characteristics are documented without ancestors. The Cambrian Explosion shows that life on earth showed up very suddenly, fully formed and specialized. Makes you wonder if God’s Word in the beginning of Genesis is actually true. Doesn’t it?

God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.—Gen. 1:25

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v5/n1/life-explosion http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VIIB1cCambrian.shtml
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Why Do Christians Claim that Jesus Is the Only Way to Heaven?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 20, 2014 4 comments

When I was first pondering what to write to take on this big question of why Christians claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven, the first things I thought of to answer it were, “because He is!” and “because He said so!” But don’t worry, I’ll give you some more evidence than that in this post.

The first thing to realize in answering this question is that we can’t get to heaven on our own. Last week I wrote about how God made the rules, since He created the world. God’s rules state that only a perfect person can go to heaven. None of us are perfect, because of the original sin of mankind. Romans 3:23 reminds us that, “... all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This verse is pretty clear - none of us can live up to God’s standards on our own.

But, the next verses give us the way out of the punishment we deserve, which is death. Romans 3:24-26 says, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

Jesus Christ is the sacrifice of atonement for us (click the links to learn more about what those words mean). We need Jesus to stand in our place, because He is the only one who fits into God’s rules for heaven - He lived the perfect, sinless life that none of us can.

In case that isn’t clear enough for you, check out John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” It doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? Jesus is the way to the Father, the way to heaven. That’s really all there is to it.

Those who follow Christ, also known as Christians, believe all of this because we believe in the Bible. We believe that the Bible is our authority for life, because it came from God Himself. Because the Bible is the primary source of authority for those who follow Christ, we believe what it says.

Simply put, Christians claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven because the Bible tells us so.
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The Doctrine of Clothing

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 17, 2014 0 comments

“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” ~ Genesis 3:21 (NIV)

A common question asked from little children is this: “Why do only people wear clothes? Why doesn’t the dog wear clothes?” The issue of clothing is always an interesting discussion. Why do only humans wear clothes and animals do not? That answer will not be found in any school textbook, no anthropology study, no cultural revelation will explain why only humans wear clothes…except in one place: the book of Genesis, Chapter 3.

In Genesis 1 and 2, we learn that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. He also created mankind, Adam and his wife, Eve. A truly amazing and astounding creation. A living being made in the image of God with the ability to speak with God and have an intimate relationship with God. Adam and Eve were also naked. They were exposed. Their innermost purity was open for all to see and they had nothing to be ashamed of. There were no problems, no difficulties, no death, no fear, no sickness…just everything going smoothly and the closest, intimate relationship with God Almighty.

But it did not stay that way. Satan deceived them and tricked them. Adam, who knew better, did nothing to stop Eve from taking the fruit. Once they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their eyes were opened and they saw they were naked. They saw they were exposed. Have you ever done something wrong and you know you did wrong? That is what Adam and Eve experienced for the first time. They knew what God had said if they ate the fruit. But they were concerned about their exposure. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. But God knew what was going on.

He confronted them but he knew what the punishment for their disobedience was. And God knew he had to deliver it because sin must be punished, or God could not be called kind, loving, or just. He knew Adam and Eve would sin, so before he started everything, he had a plan. That an innocent person who knew no sin would take the full punishment so that the justice for sin would be satisfied. God found a way to punish the sin without destroying the sinner.

The first picture of what that looked like is how we got the doctrine of clothing. God had to kill an innocent animal who did not sin so that he could provide clothes of skin. To cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, it cost an animal its life. But this is just a picture. A picture of what? The ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made. An animal could only cover for sin, and when we study the sacrificial system of the Israelites, there is a lot of blood involved. And animals had to keep being slain for the covering for sin. An animal could not do it. It took a man to cover for the sin of man. And Jesus is that man. God himself took the form of a man, lived entirely as a man, and being a representation of mankind, Jesus could do more than just pay the penalty for sin. He paid for the remission, the removal of sin, according to Hebrews 9:22. It is a done-deal. It is finished.

In order for God to be able to look at Adam and Eve and hold back his judgment, he had to look at them, covered with the skins of animals. He had to look at them through the lens of blood. Because it was through blood that the punishment is dealt. The fig leaves that Adam and Eve used could not do it. Isaiah 64:6 warns us that our own righteousness is as filthy rags. If we try to cover our sin by our own ways, we can only cover it like a leper covers his sores with rags. The rags can only cover the blood and puss that oozes out from the sores for a time before staining the rags. We cannot cover our sin, we need it removed. And Jesus’ blood did that. So when we accept the free gift of God, we need to put on the Blood of Jesus Christ. It will purify us and cleanse us and God will no longer see our sin. The Blood of Christ separates us from our sin as far as the east is from the west and God will remember them no more.

Which clothes are we wearing? Are we trying to wear our own efforts to cover for our sin? Are we trying to sow fig leaves to cover our backs? Or are we going to wear the clothes God has given us? Are we going to accept the covering of Blood that actually did pay for the price of sin? Our own good deeds, or Christ’s ultimate, finished, and done deed on the cross? Our own skills and talents that will always fall short, or Christ’s perfection which meets the standard? Let us do it God’s way. It always works better that way.
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Why Does Jesus Matter? He Brings Meaning To Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 16, 2014 0 comments

When I was in college attending a Campus Crusade for Christ event with a special guest speaker, the focus for the teaching for all of us who were young adults newly out on our own was on the danger of disobeying God’s command to remain sexually pure until marriage. This is because sexual temptation is one of the most powerful tools Satan uses to try to ruin the lives of young people. I vividly remember the speaker’s explanation of his feelings immediately after he had lost his virginity as a 19-year old, single man. He spoke about how he and his buddies had talked about sex for so long and how they couldn’t wait to experience what they thought would bring ultimate contentment. They were wrong. The speaker talked about how, when it finally happened and his buddy asked him how it was, he responded, “It was alright”. He said that, at that very moment, he thought to himself, “Did I really waste all that time and energy building myself up to something that was just ‘alright’?” The idea that something so desired could be meaningless because he experienced it apart from God brought him despair.

You have probably experienced this with something you desired in your life. Some of you have probably experienced this despair regarding sex. It’s true that anytime we seek things apart from Christ, we really cannot find complete satisfaction. Perhaps this is why Jesus tells us to keep our focus on that which can bring joy now and reward us later. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). The Greek word in that passage for “treasure” also means “storeroom” and is the root of our English word “thesaurus”. If you think about it, a thesaurus is a storeroom of words and phrases that both helps us now and is saved for later use. In the same way, our treasures in heaven make us feel joyful now and are protected for all of eternity!

No matter what we do in this world, we cannot protect our earthly treasures. The wisest and wealthiest man there ever was, King Solomon, learned this toward the end of his life, most of which he spent chasing worldly pleasures. In Ecclesiastes 2, he brings the reader through his mindset to the shocking conclusion that “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (v. 11). He repeats this declaration or variations of it several other times in the chapter. He talks about seeking pleasure through entertainment and drinking (vv. 1-3), through projects, working hard, planning well, acquiring servants, amassing wealth, and sexual pleasure (vv. 4-9), and through philosophy, intelligence, and education (vv. 17-23). These are many of the things we chase after today as well! However, none of the aforementioned pleasures are inherently evil. What makes them meaningless in this life is trying to attain them apart from Christ. If our focus is on Jesus, we can use what he has given us to advance his kingdom, also known as “storing up treasures in heaven”. Without that focus, the best we can do is enjoy things for a short while on this earth and then either lose them completely or hand them over to someone else when we die. That moment could come tomorrow or a hundred years from now. Either way, it’s just a small fraction of eternity.

If we continue with an “under the sun” focus, there won’t be much meaning to life. Under the sun, we can be wise, plan well, and do everything right in the eyes of the world and still have our reward taken away by moth, rust, thieves, and even the government! This is true with more than just money. Your education and knowledge can be rendered meaningless. Sex outside of God’s command can lead to unwanted pregnancy, disease, and depression. Even if you are a boss with power and status, you could lose your job in a heartbeat. You can work hard to develop a good reputation and have it destroyed through no fault of your own. In heaven, however, all the treasures you’ve built up are secure for all of eternity. You’ve trusted Jesus with them and he will not allow them to be stolen away or damaged. If you grasp this concept, you can walk through this life with joy, peace, and meaning even as you watch your earthly treasures disappear.

After telling his disciples that he was going to his Father’s house to “prepare a place” for them (John 14:2), Jesus makes it clear why he matters so much. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus matters to you and me because he is the ONLY way to heaven, where our Father dwells with us (Revelation 21:3). Knowing there is a joyous eternity awaiting us where our treasures are protected is the only way we can find meaning in this life.
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First Day of Class

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 15, 2014 0 comments

I showed up about fifteen minutes early. I am a stickler for being on time because, as far as I know, professors appreciate students who are not only punctual, but excited about learning. Showing up early proved that I wanted to be there and I wanted to learn. Of course being the first day of class it did not make that big of a difference because everybody shows up the first day. It is only after the first few weeks that the professors start to learn about who really cares about class and who does not.

Being a single guy, of course, I made sure to get a good seat…meaning that I found the most attractive girl in the room who was not already talking to someone to sit next to during the lecture. And I must say, mission accomplished. I sat down next to an athletic young lady who just happened to make it back from practice just in time for class. After unpacking my books and everything, I introduced myself.

“Hi, my name is Ryan.”
She replied, “Isn’t this place awful?”
“Um,” I hesitated, “I suppose it isn’t too bad, but it could use some work I suppose.”
“Yeah, a little.” Not too encouraging of a reply.
“So, what’s your name?” I was desperately trying to save the conversation and my chances.
“My name’s Megan.” I’m sorry, I just got out of soccer practice and I’m a little bit cranky.
“No problem, I understand.” I said with grace in my voice and a smile on my face.

From that point on the conversation was not too bad. We became acquainted with one another and rode out the fifteen minutes before class, anticipating a boring first day lecture. Finally, our professor walked in and we all hushed. He was your typical science type, that is, for university standards. He had long grayish white hair tied back behind his hair, wrinkles in his forehead from looking into the microscope frequently, business casual clothing, bottomed out with a pair of sandals to preserve an attempted neo-hippie sort of image.

“Welcome class. I am Dr. Derkins. This is Biology 101, if you are in the wrong classroom please feel free to leave whenever you feel necessary, or finally start listening.”
First ten minutes was standard: Syllabus, grading scale, expectations – you know the routine. Then he transitioned into our first lesson.
“As I said, this is Biology 101. There are many crazy ideas about what Biology is, so I don’t want any of you to be confused, otherwise you might fall behind in this class. I want to make you all aware of a group of people that, if you buy into their teachings, will greatly stunt your growth as scientists. We’ll just call them “nutty-creationists.”
I became immediately alarmed. Now I’m thinking, “wait a second, does he mean Christians? I’m a Christian!” But maybe he wasn’t talking about me. Maybe there was someone else he was referring to. I tuned back in.

“These people call themselves scientists, but they are not. In fact, there is nothing scientific about what they do. They take an ultra-literal interpretation of an ancient text and apply its ancient teachings about how some deity created the world in seven days and claim that it ought to be taught as science. This is not science. Science does not start with conclusions and build its arguments. Science starts with observations and questions. These questions lead to experiments and these experiments lead to conclusions. This is called the scientific method.

“We seem to believe in our modern society that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. So you might think that it is okay for people to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of what science says. But I’m telling you that this sort of belief is dangerous. You can’t just go around denying what is just so obviously true! Evolution is scientifically proven. I could tell you that it is only a theory, but that would be dishonest. Evolution is a fact. There is evidence all across the world that shows that all creatures evolved from a common ancestor, including humans.

“If this sort of evidence is not compelling enough for you, consider the vastness of our universe. Can you honestly tell me, that some “God” created all of this in seven days, ten thousand years ago?” I had never heard a teacher of any sort speak so insistently on this subject. He was obviously and intentionally affronting my faith. But was he wrong? Is it possible that there is no God and that the universe is too enormous for him to have created in seven days (I find it hard to believe, given all of the evidence to the contrary, that the universe is only ten thousand years old). Fortunately, my professor had gone on long enough and it was time to dismiss the class. Regardless, he didn’t miss a beat when it came to denouncing creationists during this nearly hour long rant. Before leaving, I had to get Megan’s opinion.

“So, what do you think?” I asked.
“About what?” was her reply.
“Well, do you think that it is possible for God to have created everything in seven days?”
“Um, I don’t know. I think it is probably better not to go down that road.” She seemed uncomfortable even eking out this sentence.
“Fair enough.” I didn’t want to antagonize her at this point. I began to leave.
“Oh, wait a second. What are you up to tonight?” I was surprised that she actually chose to stop me from leaving.
“Heading, back to the dorms. There’s actually some Bible-study group going on tonight. I think I might check it out. Want to join me?” I knew this didn’t sound, cool but it was true.
“No that’s okay. I should probably get to bed early anyway. We’re in two-a-days right now.”
“Okay, maybe some other time. Get a good night’s sleep. I hope soccer goes well for ya tomorrow.”
She replied, “Thanks,” with the same cold expression on her face that she had on when I first said “hi” to her.

Off to Bible study now. I hope it’s a good crew because I have a lot of mental unpacking to do. Unlike Megan, I want to engage these sort of controversies. There is no way Derkins could be right. Right?
The God I believe in could create the universe instantly if he chose to.

Will Bible study encourage Ryan to keep the faith? If so, how? What about this Megan girl, what’s her deal? Stay tuned for part two: Bible 101.
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Where Did Life Come From?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 14, 2014 0 comments

Abiogenesis is a fancy word that is used to describe what must have taken place for evolution to be true. What it means is chemicals that were not alive joined together spontaneously to become something alive. All experiments done to show this can happen have failed miserably. From Emil Fischer’s work, the work of Calvin, the infamous Urey-Miller experiment, Haldane (who provided us with Haldane’s Dilemma) and several others we find little if any actual support for abiogenesis. But here’s the point: with design and intelligence, man cannot manufacture a single living thing from non-living chemicals.

Over a century ago, Louis Pasteur proved spontaneous generation does not happen and birthed the Law of Biogenesis, which states living things come from living things. Some will contend that spontaneous generation is not the same thing as abiogenesis. Yet they are clearly, in essence, the exact same thing. Long ago, the term “chemical evolution” was used, but now the evolutionist wishes to divorce his belief in molecules to man evolution from abiogenesis because it clearly is an impossibility. But, according to Kerkut, The General Theory of Evolution is ‘the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form’ which you can learn more about here.

Evolution has held on to an idea that was debunked nearly one and a half centuries ago. After working hard for over 150 years, Darwinian evolution cannot even describe the process that would allow it to start. How can we trust it to describe what happens after that?

Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

1 Timothy 6:13a (NIV)
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything…

Genesis 1:21, 24, & 27 (NIV)
So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

For more reading: http://people.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/Exobiology/miller.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Or%C3%B3
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/releases/2011/lost_exp_prt.htm

One can also search for Wollman MacNevin and K. A. Wilde.
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Why Does Jesus Matter?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 13, 2014 3 comments

In last week’s post, I presented evidence from the Bible to show that Jesus is both fully God and fully human. In that, it was shown that Jesus is the Creator.

But why is it important that Jesus created the world? Think of it like playing with a young child who’s making up a game to play. The child makes the rules, and you do your best to follow along with them! In the case of our world, Jesus created it, so Jesus sets the rules. Lucky for us, Jesus tells us what the rules are. Unlike the made-up game of a young child, we don’t have to guess. It’s all laid out plainly in the Bible.

In Genesis 2:15-17, God gives mankind the first rules: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’”

That’s pretty self-explanatory, right? Eat this; don’t eat that or you’ll die. That sounds pretty simple too, right? You can eat from probably hundreds of different trees, just not that one over there. But what did the first man and woman do? They ate from the one tree that they were forbidden to eat from. Humankind chose to break the one simple rule that God gave them. You can read the full story of this in Genesis 3.

Because of this original ‘breaking of the rule’ (also known as sin), you and I and every human being who has ever or will ever live is also living in sin. We broke the rule of the One who created our world. Based on that fact alone, we only deserve death.

But, since God is omniscient, He knew that His creation would break His rule. Because He is a loving God, He gives us a way out! That’s where Jesus comes in.

Many years after the original sin of the first people on earth, Jesus came to earth, born as a baby of a woman. As discussed last week, this means that Jesus is both fully God and fully human. To be an appropriate substitution for our punishment (death), Jesus needed to be one of us - a human being. He needed to die a human death. But, in order to rise again, He needed to be God. That is why it’s so important to recognize Jesus as both God and human, so He could be a perfect sacrifice for each one of us, so we no longer deserve death. Jesus is the only one who has ever existed that could accomplish this.

Why does Jesus matter? Jesus is the only way we have hope against death. He is the forgiveness for our mistakes. He is the reason we can have eternal life after our life on this earth.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17:
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
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Humanism and Same-Sex Marriage

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 10, 2014 0 comments

How does the topic of same-sex marriage relate to the creation vs. evolution debate? Some might say that the two topics are totally unrelated. Others might say homosexuality is a practice that is permissible under Jesus’ covenant of grace and that the theory of evolution should be embraced over a literal interpretation of Genesis. These particular arguments arise because Jesus never mentioned homosexuality during his earthly ministry and the Bible never specifically addresses the age of the earth or evolution. In other words, they arise from arguments of silence. Nonetheless, they are fairly common arguments. The reason that I infer that the two topics are related is because they both question the authority of God’s Word and embrace a humanistic worldview.

I am not saying that such people are atheists, but that their worldview resembles that of an atheist more so than that of a Christian. A humanistic worldview implies that mankind itself is the source of authority that determines good and evil, right and wrong. Because most public and private schools embrace a humanistic philosophy almost everybody who has been born after the 1960s has a pattern of thought that resembles a person that does not believe in God. This is despite the fact that the majority of people claim to believe in God! This is why many people have departed from the faith in the past 20 years, because our thought patterns are directly contradicting God’s Word; ultimately leaving no room for Jesus in our lives.

That is why we as Christians cannot affectively debate other people that claim to be Christians that embrace homosexuality. The passages that condemn a homosexual lifestyle are in the Bible, but because of the other person’s secular-christian worldview he or she will instead make the debate into an argument of nuances: “This passage is only in relation to men. Paul is only addressing unnatural homosexuals; not the natural ones. The word ‘homosexual’ never appears in the original language. ‘Same-sex marriage’ is never spoken against in the Bible. It is actually speaking out against prostitution, not homosexuality.”

Such arguments are made as though the Apostles were born in the past 50 years and wrote these passages as though they were open to interpretations contrary to what they were clearly saying. This is exactly the same with Genesis 1. The original language states: “Yom ehad = day one. Yom sheniy = day two. Yom sheliyshiy = day three,” etc. The text itself does not leave much room for alternative interpretation unless we disregard the historic understanding of these passages and impose a modern skeptic’s or a postmodern relativistic understanding to them. The historic understanding, of course, is going to be the most accurate way to interpret these passages because the early commentators had a similar worldview to the original authors. Unfortunately, we have to understand the Scriptures 2000 years after they were written. That is not to say that the historic interpretations/translations are always correct, but the doctrine on homosexuality has stood solid since before the days of Jesus!

The humanistic perspective suggests that humans are nothing more than enlightened animals. Animals do that which is instinctual and do not have the ability to reason. Even though humanists acknowledge that humans have the ability to reason they also believe that many humans are not evolved enough to fully tap into this potential. Therefore, they believe sexual activity and preference is about as much of a choice as eating. Humanist’s do not have the high view of man that Christians do. The Biblical teaching is that mankind was created in the image of God and possesses a free will and the ability to override instincts.

Where the evolutionist says, “You must eat to survive,” the creationist (or Christian) says, “You may choose what you want to eat.” In this case, one may choose to eat something detrimental to one’s health if he or she chooses to do so. Certain foods might look and taste good, but they ultimately have negative affects if they are eaten.

We as Christians must hold to what the Scriptures say. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23). “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a). And even though some might seek to discourage us in our beliefs, we understand that “God has made foolish the wisdom of the world” (1 Corinthians 1:20). The message of the cross is foolish to the world (1:23), but “the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1:25).

Christian web sites that address homosexual marriage:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/01/29/pro-gay-theology

http://catholicexchange.com/what-would-the-greeks-have-thought-of-gay-marriage/

Some of the passages that speak against homosexuality:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26-27)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

(Even though the Bible does speak strongly against homosexuality, it extends the same grace to people who have been trapped within this lifestyle. As Christians, we need to show them Christ’s love).
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Who is Jesus? - More Than a Savior

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 9, 2014 0 comments

Growing up in the church, I was taught that the most important thing to find out about someone was whether he or she was “saved”. This term was always further explained to include those who had “accepted Jesus as their Savior”. To find out if someone was saved, you usually asked questions about when and where it happened and who else was present. Obviously, those who call themselves believers know that IT happened nearly 2,000 years ago on a cross on a hill outside of Jerusalem, where Jesus gave his life for the whole world in front of a few family members and a whole bunch of people who mocked him and cheered his death. Yet, we give our individual testimonies and say that we are saved when WE choose to accept it. Do you see how we focus more on our part rather than what Christ did? While it’s true that we have God-given free will and are only spared from the penalty of our sin if we choose to accept what Jesus did to set us free, I believe we are severely underselling his effect on our earthly lives if all we talk about is the moment we supposedly got “saved”.

A good friend of mine and fellow pastor once said, “We can’t say that Jesus is our Savior, but only that he is our Lord”. As I questioned the first part of his statement, he clarified that our “decision” regarding acceptance has no effect on what Jesus did. His point was that God is the one who determined that Jesus would be our Savior. It wasn’t up to us! What IS up to us, for now, is whether or not we make him our Lord. I say “for now” because Philippians 2:10-11 tell us that there will come a day when EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord”. That means that it won’t just be those who do so willingly; it will be everybody! Until that point, however, you and I must choose whether to live with Jesus or something else as our Lord. Something must determine how you live your life. If it’s not Jesus, it could be any of a number of other things, including popular opinion, worldly logic, law, yourself, or someone else. In the church, we speak very fondly of Jesus saving us. But what about his lordship? Every verse I know in the Bible that talks about being “saved” also includes something about confessing that Jesus is Lord (i.e. Romans 10:9) or calling on the name of the Lord (i.e. Romans 10:13 and Joel 2:32). You can’t have one without the other!

I believe this issue lays at the heart of almost every challenge that the Church and our society face today, particularly those involving sinful behaviors that many now want to affirm. We only want Jesus to be Lord and the Bible to be truth if it suits our feelings and desires. Jesus did die on the cross to set us free from both the penalty and the entrapment of our sins, and we all have an opportunity to accept it. But according to Scripture, Jesus must be Lord for those who want to truly be “saved”. That means he is Lord even when we don’t want him to be. He is Lord when someone has hurt me and I don’t want to forgive that person. He is Lord when no one else knows my sin and I could get away with it in the world’s eyes, but his grace and truth invite me to confess, repent, and be purified. He is Lord over your bedroom, your computer, your checkbook, your workplace, and your loved ones. If we live as if we have the right to determine what is pure and righteous in any of these areas, can we really call Jesus our Lord? If he’s not our Lord, we can’t be saved.

Paul almost always referred to our Savior as “Lord Jesus Christ” in his letters. I learned in seminary that this was likely intentional, so that the titles represented his divinity, his humanity, and his mission, in that order. Again, you can’t just accept part of him. It’s all or nothing. As a Jew, Paul had always been aware of Jesus and aware of his crucifixion. But it wasn’t until he came to know Jesus as Lord that his life was changed. You may be aware of the historic argument known as the “trilemma”, made popular by C.S. Lewis initially in a series of radio talks and later in his classic work “Mere Christianity”. The gist of his argument is that Jesus was “a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord”, with no other possibility. What do you believe?

Like us, the people who listened to Jesus and saw him face-to-face when he was on this earth had to deal with their questions about who he really was. In John 6:25-59, the Jews in his hometown of Capernaum had to listen to Jesus saying what seemed to be some really crazy things. He claimed to be the “bread of life” who “came down from heaven” and that whoever would come to him and believe in him would never be hungry or thirsty again (vv. 35-38). As the people continued to question him, he talked about the need for them to “eat his flesh and drink his blood” in order to have life (vv. 51-53). I encourage you to read the whole story for yourself and see the truth that Jesus was sharing with the people as BOTH Lord and Savior. As he said things they didn’t want to hear, the people struggled, to put it lightly. “They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?’”(v. 42a)

This is where the challenge comes for me and you. The Jews of Jesus’ time were blinded by what they thought they already knew about Jesus, and perhaps by only what they WANTED to know about him. People began to package Jesus neatly into THEIR boxes many years ago while he was still on this earth, and it continues today. Personally, I know Jesus is my Savior because he is my Lord. That doesn’t mean I never put myself on his throne. It means I am convicted by the Holy Spirit every time I put myself there and I know it’s time to repent and surrender it back to him. I also know there are times when he takes it back forcefully because I may be unwilling and it’s the only way he can bring me to repentance. Do you live as if Jesus can be your Savior without being Lord over every area of your life? The challenge is to accept what the Bible says about not having one without the other, to examine your ways, and to surrender the throne back to your Lord!
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Do changes over time prove evolution?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 7, 2014 12 comments

A misunderstanding in the Creation vs. Evolution debate is that creationists deny that populations of organisms change over time. I freely admit that this has been observed. A small change over time though is not the same thing as very large changes over time.

If a bird develops a sharper beak, it’s still a bird. If a moth develops a different color scheme on its wings, it’s still a moth. Creationists do not deny change but its extent. The Darwinist is generally talking of an innumerable amount of change from the first, single living thing into all the 3,000,000+ known species of organisms on the planet. Creationists refer to this as “molecules to man” evolution. Evolutionists generally use information that suggests organisms can change slightly over time and make a giant leap to say this shows large changes will take place. There are numerous hurdles involved in this process that no one has yet explained. Most of them have to do with functional anatomy. There is no way to explain major gaps between organisms. Darwinists are often still trying to argue against the creationist in this fashion—saying that a small change in a population proves universal common descent. But creationists even before Darwin began to realize that fixity of species was not an observable thing. The Darwinian tree of ancestry doesn’t exist in real life and never has.

As I hope to show over time this year, there is little support of Darwinian evolution and several very large problems that have yet to be explained.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n1/species-change
http://www.icr.org/article/impetus-for-biological-change/
http://creation.com/genetic-engineers-unwind-species-barrier-254
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Who Is Jesus?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 6, 2014 2 comments

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,’Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16:13-16)

This confession from Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, is a foundational truth about who Jesus is. But there is so much more than that! In this blog post, we’ll look at a variety of Bible passages that show us the truth about who Jesus is.

John 1:1-4 tells us that Jesus (referred to as ‘the Word’ in this passage) was with God in the beginning and was involved in the creation of the world: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” Shortly after that, in John 1:14, we see that: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

We see from this first chapter of the gospel of John that Jesus is God, and that Jesus is also human. Jesus was (and is) God, and He became flesh and lived among us. Jesus is fully God, and yet He is fully man. How can that be? Well, let’s look at some more verses that show each of these attributes.

We see that Jesus is fully God because:

He knows everything (omniscience): Luke 11:17, John 4:29
He is everywhere (omnipresence): Matthew 18:20, Matthew 28:20, Acts 18:10
He is all powerful (omnipotence): Matthew 8:26-27, John 11:38-44, Luke 7:14-15, Revelation 1:8
He is life, and doesn’t depend on anything else for it: John 14:6, John 8:58
He is the Creator: John 1:3, Colossians 1:16
He is ruler over everything: Matthew 28:18, Revelation 19:16
He doesn’t have a beginning or an end: John 8:58, John 1:1
Everything that God is, Jesus is. Therefore, Jesus is fully God.

We see that Jesus is fully human because:

He was born as a baby from a human mother: Luke 2:7, Galatians 4:4
He was tired: John 4:6
He was hungry and thirsty: Matthew 4:2, John 19:28
He had human emotions: Matthew 8:10, John 11:35
He prayed to God, just like we need to: Mark 1:35
Jesus lived on this earth just like we do, therefore He is fully human.
There are more passages that would give even more support, but suffice it to say that we can clearly see that Jesus is both fully God and fully human. But why is this important? Watch for next week’s blogs for the answer!
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