Why Do I Doubt? Genuine Seeker (Part 4)

why do I doubt

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8

Why Do I Doubt?

In our last post, Doubt, Faith, and Reason, we looked at how a firefighter decided to risk his own life and crawl through a window into a burning building to save three children. And we saw how his decision making process is related to our choosing to believe (or not believe) in the gospel accounts.

In today’s post we’ll look at one of the reasons why we doubt.

Getting to Know a Firefighter

Yesterday a candidate for a firefighter position at Medford Fire-Rescue contacted me asking for advice about how to get hired. Before I started writing full time, I was involved in the hiring process for the fire department. I’m pretty sure we have the most thorough process in the state. We start with an application screening and end with a background check that’s incredibly thorough. Before we hire someone we know them just about as well as you can know someone without living with them. Which is important because firefighters have a unique schedule, and because of their unique schedule they live with each other almost a third of their lifetime during their career. It’s also important because once he or she is hired, the department and the community will probably be stuck with this person, for better or for worse, for thirty years or so.

But here’s the thing, no matter how thorough our process, and no matter how deep we go with our background investigation, we don’t really get to know the candidate until he’s been with us for a few years. There have been a few backgrounds Continue reading

Martin Luther King Jr.: Favorite Quotes

A few of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

“The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

“The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Doubt, Faith, and Reason: Genuine Seeker (Part 3)

doubt faith reason

Last Post: Tolkien, Lewis, and the Gospel

In our last post (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts) we saw the impact (on me at least) of C.S. Lewis’ opinion of the gospels. Lewis, a former atheist, a professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and an expert in ancient literature, wrote that the gospels are either a documented account of the life of Jesus, or, “some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative.” In other words, C.S. Lewis believed the scriptures to be true. (I posted Lewis’ statement on Reddit and a commenter, SuddenlySeymour, with a masters degree in English Literature explained it better than I ever could. If you’re interested, you can read what he wrote in the NOTES section at the bottom of this post.)

Why Should I Listen?

The next thing we explored in the last post was the next logical step after learning of Lewis’ conclusion. And that step is to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life very carefully. Because if those accounts are true as C.S. Lewis asserts that they are, then when we read the gospel accounts, we’re reading a documented account of the life and words of the Son of God Himself.

The Son of God Himself. No one’s life can be more important than his. No one’s world view can be more important than his. No one’s words can be more important than his. He said he came to save lives, eternal lives, and I want to explore that. But before we continue I think it will be helpful to first look at how firefighters decide to save lives.

Why Dive Through a Window Into a Burning Building? Continue reading

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts: Genuine Seeker (Part 2)

Jesus myth or reality

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospels

In our last post we looked at how J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, argued with his atheist friend, C.S. Lewis, and how he ultimately persuaded Lewis to believe in Christianity. And we also saw what C.S. Lewis, an expert in ancient literature (Oxford and Cambridge professor, and chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge) said about the gospels:

I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage… Or else, some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned to read. -C.S. Lewis

(Click on the link to read the previous post in its entirety Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker)

So here’s one of my personal heroes, Tolkien, the creator of all the original writings having to do with Hobbits and in my view one of the great genius minds of all time, and he convinces his friend C.S. Lewis that the bible is true. And then Lewis, another one of the great minds of all time and an expert in ancient literature, recognizes the gospels as true documentation of the life of Christ.

So what am I to do with this? How am I to react to this? Continue reading

Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker of Truth (Part 1)

Jesus Real

Smurfs May Lead to “Harder” Entertainment Media

So, your parents forbid you to watch the Smurfs and you think that is one of the stupidest things ever, right? But take a breath and think this through with me. Somewhere, down deep inside, you know in your heart that it was when the Smurf high faded, it became the gateway television show that led you to your use of “harder” entertainment media. Come on, admit it. We’ve all heard the stories about Smurf watchers graduating to Harry Potter books and even engaging with others in the sport of Quidditch.

I even heard that one poor soul tried out for the position of Seeker. He was last seen in a deserted alley, chasing imaginary Quaffles and Golden Snitches.

Clearly it was the Smurfs cartoon that led to your ruin.

A Genuine Seeker of Truth

Okay so you’re probably right about the impact of the Smurfs on your childhood. But while we’re on the topic of the position of Seeker… I was on Google+ one time and I saw this post comparing an Egyptian mythological character named Horus to Jesus. The guy who posted it said that the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life were just ripoffs of this Egyptian legend. It seemed pretty compelling so Continue reading

How Did They Do That? — Courage in the Face of Cancer

Survive Trial Cancer Jim Davis Why MeThe following is a guest post by Jim Davis. It’s an excerpt from his new book Why Me? (And Why That’s the Wrong Question) You can learn more about Jim at the end of this article.

What people need to know to survive a trial: A lesson from Mike and Pam Worley

Sometimes a person responds to bad news with such grace and strength, we think, “I want to know how they did it. Because if I ever face a storm like that, I want to be as strong.”

That’s the way I felt when my friends Mike and Pam Worley learned that Mike had cancer. Pam wrote this on Mike’s Caring Bridge site:

We just got back from meeting with Dr. M getting the results from Mike’s biopsy. I wish the news had been better than what we got, BUT it could be worse! Mike has multiple myeloma. It is a cancer of the plasma in the bone marrow… Chemotherapy will more than likely have to be done.

It could be worse? It’s cancer! Well, that’s probably what you just thought you were supposed to say, and now you’ll lock yourself in a dark room and have a breakdown, right? Continue reading

The Most Important Words Ever Spoken

Jesus is the Son of God. He said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” Then he said, “From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” A few moments later he just came right out and said it, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:6-9)

So think this through with me. If Jesus is who he said he is, then who on earth is more important? He is the Creator of the universe. He’s the Creator of the 100 trillion cells that make up my body. He’s smarter than I am. He’s smarter than anyone–ever. He’s God. Why wouldn’t I want to hang on his every word? I mean really, whose words are more important?

#bible

Love Like Jesus and the Resurrected Christian–How a Man Came Down From Mount St. Helens, “Died,” and “Rose Again”

resurrected Christian

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14

A Man Came Down From Mount St. Helens and was “Resurrected”

It was March of 1980. Mount St. Helens was showing signs of an imminent eruption. Bryan Flora, a firefighter in Medford, Oregon was curious about the volcanic activity. His jeep wasn’t running at the time so he borrowed his father’s car and drove to the volcano in Washington. For months before the big eruption there were earthquakes and steam venting from the North face of the mountain. USGS scientists felt it was too dangerous for the general public and convinced the local authorities to close the area. So when Bryan arrived, a Skamania county sheriff was there to greet him. He was denied entry into the park. But Bryan knew the country. And the perimeter is so large it was impossible for law enforcement to cover it all. It wasn’t long before Bryan found a way in. He parked and hiked to the timberline where he spent the night. During his time on the mountain he could feel the earthquakes and hear the mountain making popping noises. But he managed to survive.

However the next day Continue reading

7 Ways to Draw Closer to Christ in 2014

Closer to God

The Problem With Poinsettias

The problem with poinsettias is you have to water them. Kathy was away visiting family and one of my jobs while she was gone was to water the beautiful live potted poinsettias she bought as part of our Christmas decorations. Some may find this hard to believe but–I forgot. It wasn’t until a few days before Kathy’s return that I noticed the poinsettias were looking pretty bleak. Again you may find this hard to believe but this was not the first time I forgot to water plants in Kathy’s absence. Having experience with this problem I used my go to recovery plan: dump copious amounts of water on the plant and hope it recovers before Kathy returns.

Well the plan worked and the poinsettias did recover. However in the process of picking off the dead leaves to make the poinsettias look better, I accidentally severed a branch. It’s the one in the photo at the top of this post. It didn’t fare well after it was separated from the vine. It wasn’t long before it shriveled and died.

In John chapter 15 Jesus says plainly, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

1) Practice His Presence

“…without Me you can do nothing.” And that brings us to our number one means of drawing closer to Christ in 2014: Continue reading