Doubt and Evolution
I know it bothers some Christians that some of their fellow followers of Christ don’t believe in evolution. They’re embarrassed. They hear the new atheists in the media dogmatically insisting that if you’re a Christian who doesn’t believe in evolution you are delusional, or imbecilic, or loathsome. Richard Dawkins and other new atheists encourage people to ridicule and mock those who disagree with their views. (Hamilton, Dawkins: Mock Them. Ridicule Them. In Public. With Contempt.) Unfortunately that approach has trickled down to too many people. The result is some Christians hear disparaging comments from friends or coworkers who have been influenced by Dawkins and other new atheists–and they feel intimidated.
Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Read More
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)
I think Noah demonstrates for us one of the most important keys there is to walking closely with Jesus Christ. The very first thing Noah did after he stepped off the ark was to sacrifice some of the clean animals and birds to God. I can’t imagine doing that. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”
But in the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a grasp of this truth.
And Noah had a grasp of the power of thanksgiving. Imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate with a party? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? Play some frisbee football? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah Read More
From the archives, one of our most popular posts:
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. -Genesis 1:20-23
Scientists are conceding they have grossly underestimated the quantity and diversity of marine life in the ocean. Research scientists from 80 different countries are undertaking a huge census of ocean life around the world. Called the Census of Marine Life, the census effort began in 2000, and ten years later, scientists continue to be amazed at the numbers and varieties of new species they’ve found. In the first three years of the study 160 new species of fish were found each year. That’s about 3 new species discovered every week. As the census has progressed, new species of marine life are being discovered at an even greater rate. One study found 700 new species of crustaceans in an area the size of a small bathroom. (Census of Marine Life) Read More
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
(You can read Isaiah 53 in its entirety at the bottom of this post)
Isaiah 53 Written After Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?
Isaiah chapter 53 is so descriptive of Jesus Christ it seems out of place. There’s just no way this should be here. It should come after the New Testament, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, not before. Read More
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,” Jesus Christ, John 5:39
In our last post we saw Jesus in the story of Joseph. Today we’ll see Jesus in another Old Testament passage: the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac to sacrifice.
Read Genesis 22
Before Genesis 22, Abraham was last seen together with Isaac when he was celebrating Isaac’s weaning. At that time Isaac was somewhere between three and five years old. Genesis 22 begins in verse one with the phrase “After these things . . .” So fast forward to when some say Isaac is now in his thirties. He’s been the apple of his parent’s eye for thirty or so years now and even as his name means laughter, he’s provided laughter and joy to both Abraham and Sarah. Which as we’ll see makes the next phrase in our story, God tested Abraham, just about as gut wrenching as you can imagine. Abraham is about to hear what to him must have seemed like a very strange request from the Lord. Read More
In last Saturday’s post, Looking for the Living Among the Dead, we saw how Jesus talked to the two men on the road to Emmaus who thought He was dead. “…beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27-34)
Here in Genesis we see what I believe is just one example of how Jesus is found in the writings of Moses and all the prophets. Perhaps Christ even shared something similar with the two on the road to Emmaus.
Joseph’s Response to the Sins of His Brothers
Jacob, the father of Joseph and his brothers, has just passed away. The funeral is over, and the family is back at home in Egypt, trying to return to their normal routine. It’s at this time, all the wrongs Joseph’s brothers committed against Joseph, come flooding into their minds: they hated him because he was their father’s favorite, they plotted to kill him, they tossed him into a cistern, they sold him into slavery, then they lied to their father and told him Joseph was dead.
And now Jacob is gone. And they think Joseph has just been waiting for the right time to settle the score. They think he’s angry. They think he’s ready for revenge. So they throw themselves down before Joseph, the powerful Prime Minister, and beg for his forgiveness. Read More
“Bury me with… Leah.” -Jacob, Genesis 49:29-31
“The primary problem is… learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.” -Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Ethics, Duke University
Married to a Stranger
It’s impossible to know what your spouse will be like tomorrow, or next year, or next decade. Because life will change him, or her. Finishing school changes him. Age changes her. The hirings, and firings, and battles at work change him. Where she lives changes her. A loved one dying changes her. Having kids changes him. You can’t really know who you will be married to, in the future, because they’ll change.
It’s inevitable: at some point in your marriage, you’ll find you’re married to a stranger. It happens to every one of us.
It happened to Jacob right away. Read More
[To see the last post on Genesis go to The Consequences of Calling Your Own Shots–Genesis 49:29]
So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him—the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt—
Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.
When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.”
What’s All The Fuss?
I was involved in a huge funeral once. Two friends died in the prime of life, in an ATV accident. They were firefighters and we had this huge procession through town with fire department vehicles. The streets were lined with well wishers. There were even helicopters flying overhead above the procession. One helicopter flew a giant American flag underneath. Another filmed the whole event in high def. Had my two friends been insurance salesmen none of that would have happened. It was their relationship with the fire department that resulted in such an ambitious funeral.
Jacob’s funeral was a much bigger deal than my friends’. Every single one of Pharaoh’s officials were there. Every dignitary from the nation of Egypt was there. All of Joseph’s family was there. Chariots and horsemen were even there. The funeral lasted a whole week. This thing was huge. When the people of Canaan saw it, it was easy to recognize someone very important had passed away. But why? Why was Jacob honored in such spectacular fashion? Read More
Jacob said: “I am about to be gathered to my people.” -Genesis 49:29
Jacob was about to die. He found himself in the same position every single one of us will find ourselves. Jacob was about to be gathered to his people.
And of course, so will you. The question is: Where are your people gathered?
I Have A Confession
I have a confession to make. I have this tendency–I tend to change my worldview to accommodate my own selfishness. Reflecting back I realize I had a desire for personal glory in a variety of arenas. At various times those areas in which I sought my own honor included work, running, hang gliding, and basketball–to name a few. At my core, Read More
(From the Archives…)
Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9
A little trivia to start: The Bible tells us that the land in which God’s garden is located is called Eden, however we are never actually given the name of the garden itself, only the name of the land in which it is located. But one thing’s for sure, the word Eden means delightful, and we do know from the Bible that without a doubt, whatever the name of the garden, God’s garden was a delightful place to live.
Notice that in the middle of His garden God puts both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Why?” You may be asking. “Why include the forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the middle of the delightful garden? Why ruin a perfect place with a forbidden tree?” The answer is that God desired a meaningful relationship with Adam and Eve, and a meaningful relationship requires a choice.
Marriage and Slavery
Hadijatou Mani is a 24 year old woman from the Sahel region of Nigeria, on the Southern fringe of the Sahara. Hadijatou’s story is the story of someone who wasn’t given a choice. When she was just 12 years old she was sold to a man named Souleymane Naroua. When she was just 13 she was raped by her master and forced to bear his children. Read More
To see the previous post from Genesis, go to Can God Use a Sinner Like You, or Like Me?
Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel
Joseph endured a difficult life. Described as “archers” in this passage, Joseph faced arrows of persecution from his own siblings–they plotted to murder him, then they settled for selling him into slavery. So he was separated from his family, while he served as a slave in Egypt. Then he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, after which, he was tossed into a dungeon–for years.
Jesus was another who was committed to living his life God’s way, no matter what arrows flew in his direction. He loved people, all people, including promiscuous women, prostitutes, and thieves–even when it brought brutal criticism. Although on the surface he looked as ordinary as anyone else, he healed, and helped so many, it was impossible to write it all down. (John 21:25) And though he did all these things, things no one else could do, he never bragged. The religious leadership of his day hated him. Over and over they tried to catch him in a verbal ambush, but Christ answered so cleverly and completely they eventually stopped trying. Several times they tried to kill him, but they couldn’t until his time came. His dream was to make a way for us to go to heaven, but it meant he had to die. He did it anyway.
You might be asking yourself, “How? How did Joseph and Jesus live this way?” The source of power for both Joseph and Jesus is revealed by Jacob in our text. They were both able to live the way they did “because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel…”
You have access to that same source of power you know.
Those decisions you’ve made the last few years that haven’t worked out for you? The ones that made you say, “Yea but…”
“Yea but she seemed like such a nice girl.”
“I know but he was so good to my five year old daughter.”
“Yes but she was so much fun to party with.” Read More
1) Love Like Jesus series: The most popular posts of 2012 begin with a series. Jesus commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV) But He never provided instruction as to how we’re to love–or did he? Posts from the new Love Like Jesus series examine every encounter Jesus had with a person or a group, in chronological order. Each interaction is analyzed and a way for you to make application in your own life is provided.
2) Senna Part 2–Teach Us to Number Our Days: One of the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard is that of Formula 1 race car driver Ayrton Senna. I was surprised to find I’m not alone. Senna Part 2–Teach Us to Number Our Days is one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written. We can learn some valuable lessons from his life. If you’re interested in Ayrton Senna, you might also like Senna Part 1–Senna vs. Prost–Esau Ran to Jacob.