I Am Twice as Bad (And How God Used Skunks to Tell Me So)

Why do I sinLast Sunday I heard one of my heroes of the faith say he has offered opinions on topics that have compromised his effectiveness at reflecting the nature of Christ. Sometimes the topics were political, sometimes they were about what other churches are teaching, but what really struck me was that this guy–who I consider to be one of the best people on the planet at communicating Christ–sees himself as a failure in this way. I felt horrible after hearing that sermon, because I had to ask myself,

Where does that leave me?

I’m as nothing compared to this man. I remember him telling a story a long time ago about how he encountered a skunk walking next to him, and how he took it as a message from the Lord that he stunk.

A similar thing happened to me on October 7, 2013. I was angry that day, so I did what I often do when I’m angry Continue reading

Is Time Alone with God a Waste of Time?

alone with God

Alone with God

I was in church recently and heard this teaching:

Young Esther was to be presented to the king, king Xerxes, a great king who reigned from India to Ethiopia at the time. (If you look at a map you’ll see that’s a huge amount of territory.)

But before Esther could be in the company of King Xerxes, she had to “soak” for 12 months, 6 months with oil of myrrh and 6 with perfumes. (Esther 2:12)

Our God loves the smell of sacrifice. Beginning with Noah’s sacrifice after the flood we often see in scripture how sacrifice is pleasing to Him. (Genesis 8:18-22) So even as Esther sacrificed a year to soak, to prepare herself for her king, we can soak in Jesus, in prayer, in praise, in His word, to prepare ourselves for our King with a capital K. Soaking in this way is never a waste of time. Continue reading

How an Atheist Came to Know Christ

How Atheist came to know ChristThe following is a guest post from a friend and former atheist.

I was raised going to a Greek Orthodox church all through my childhood, and even began to attend Sunday services by myself when I was able to drive. When I got to college, I stopped going to church and slowly turned away from God over the course of about three years. I began to adopt an agnostic worldview–thinking God may or may not exist, but either way I needed to live my own life and look out for myself. Through my senior year of college, my weak agnostic stance turned into a firm atheistic stance on life. I was certain that God did not exist, and that Christianity was simply just one more religion in the world that was formed on stolen ideas and stories from ancient myths. Continue reading

93 Year Old Paratrooper Celebrates D-Day by Jumping Out of C-47 Airplane

Do without expecting thanks D-Day

D-Day Paratrooper Jim Martin

 

“I am humbled and embarrassed at the adulation because I don’t feel we did anything we weren’t supposed to do or anything exceptional.”

That’s what 93 year old paratrooper Jim Martin said about his part in D-Day, 70 years ago.

Then he jumped out of a C-47 airplane. And parachuted onto Utah Beach. Just like he did 70 years ago, when he helped to retake France.

I was amazed at the way Martin parachuted at age 93, but I was even more inspired by his attitude about doing his duty, without any expectation of recognition. Continue reading

Why I Struggle With The Old Testament

Problem with BibleWhy I Struggle With the Old Testament

I’ve posted a few articles recently about the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. I was inspired to do so by a seminary student friend who used to be an atheist. He told me he became a Christian when he learned about the reliability of the New Testament scriptures. But he also explained to me the process the Jewish people went through to copy the Torah. If they made a single mistake they would destroy the document and start over. The ancient Hebrew, like English today, has a numeric value associated with each letter (in English A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on). After copying each line of scripture, they would add up the numeric value of each line and compare it to the original. If there was a difference, they destroyed the document and started over.

It’s Not the Accuracy, It’s What It Says

So it’s not the accuracy of the Old Testament scriptures that bothers me. What bothers me about the Old Testament is what’s written. Some of the Continue reading

Torah to be Preserved–on the Moon?

Torah to the moon

Last post we looked at a guy who transcribed a copy of the complete Torah, with perfect accuracy, using a feather pen and a sheepskin parchment (it took him eight years). Today I saw a story about how the moon might be used to preserve the Torah. As newscientist.com put it, the moon will be used as sort of a backup hard drive for the supercomputer we call Earth. Let me explain. Continue reading

Man Copies Torah Without a Single Mistake (Using a Feather Pen and a Sheepskin Parchment)

Bible reliableAs the Washington Post article stated, “Forget auto-correct.” It wasn’t available to Richard Epstein, the man who copied the Torah over an eight year period. According to Jewish tradition even one error would make the entire text unfit for use in Jewish worship.

Epstein said of his accomplishment:

“I feel like basically the Torah wrote me, more than I wrote the Torah–that it really shaped me. When you write, you go much slower than you think, and especially when you’re writing the Torah. It’s wet and it’s gooey.”

Epstein followed the Jewish tradition of speaking each word out loud, and then speaking each letter in that word out loud before writing it. Continue reading

The Meaning of Life

Meaning of LifeLeo Tolstoy was famous, influential, and well off when he wrote this.

The question–that which at the age of fifty brought me to the edge of the abyss–was the simplest of questions… “What will come of what I am doing today or shall do tomorrow? What will come of my whole life?”

Differently expressed, the question is: “Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?” It can also be expressed thus: “Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?”

My deeds whatever they may be will be forgotten sooner or later, and I myself will be no more, why then do anything? I therefore could not attach a rational meaning to a single act of my entire life. The only thing that amazed me was how I had failed to realize this from the very beginning. How could anyone fail to see this? That’s what is amazing.

It’s possible to live, as long as life intoxicates us. But once we’re sober…

What are you living for?

References:

Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

Kevin Kim

Timothy Keller

The Bible: It’s Out of Date and Irrelevant–Isn’t It?

Bible outdated It’s just so old, right? It’s something that was written for a culture that hasn’t been around for 2,000 years. It’s gone through so many translations, there’s no way the Bible we have today could be anywhere close to what the original was.

It’s trendy right now to hold that opinion of the Bible. But is it true? Jesus’ acts and his words, passed down through a long process of oral tradition can’t possibly be accurate, could they? Continue reading

If You’re Avoiding God Intentionally, Don’t Read This

How can I find GodSo your faith feels dry. You have no desire to read the bible. And when you do, you read a paragraph and forget what you’ve read, so you read it again–and forget it again. The words on the page just feel lifeless. You find no inspiration in them.

You have no desire to go to church. The effort to get up, get ready, drive to church, and sit for an hour listening to mundane platitudes with a group of people you don’t even know, it just feels pointless.

God doesn’t feel personal, He doesn’t even feel present.

Where is God anyway?

You ask yourself, “Why can’t I find Him?”

Do you want to know why? Do you really want to find Him? Or are you avoiding Him intentionally.

If you’re avoiding Him intentionally then stop reading now. Continue reading