Friday, June 10, 2011

Why I think I would enjoy smoking

Clarification: I have never smoked. anything. Nor do I plan on starting. Or even trying. But there are things about smoking that I find appealing that I think I would enjoy.

  1. Outside time. Smokers have a reason they have to go sit outside in any and all weather. When it is really cold or really hot, I am not going to go sit outside just for kicks. But I would hate and be glad of having a reason I had to.
  2. Hand gestures and fiddling. I like having things to do with my hands. I am generally doodling or knitting or playing with the rings or hair bands or jewelry I have on my person. Having something to hold and flick would be amusing.
  3. Breathing exercises. I like having things to do with my breath. I sometimes hold my breath just to see how long I can, and whenever I am in a car going though a tunnel, I hold my breath all the way through (if possible). I will also sometimes change the speed of my breathing intentionally.
  4. Community of smokers. You can't ask strangers for random items on a general basis, but you can ask strangers for a light or a cigarette. Automatic in, socially speaking, if you both are sitting in the same place for a smoking break.
So, I plan not to try smoking, because I think I would enjoy it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why I am glad the May 21 rapture discussion happened

Overall, I was not pleased with Harold Camping's prediction that the rapture would happen. It was contrary to what the Bible teaches about the church, knowledge we as Christians have access to, and he used faulty interpretation methods.

However, waking up that morning, with Christ's return on my mind, knowing that I was honestly praying "Lord, come quickly," and "Lord, tarry, that none may perish,"was great.

While I don't want there to be more faulty theology, being reminded that Christ is returning someday, was good.

I also found it funny actually figuring out what Camping thought. As a Christian, in a church, I was still condemned, because the age of the church is over, according to him.

Now, actually, according to him, no one else can be saved. That was the result of the May 21st non-rapture. So, in theory, he should just be quiet from here on out. Because according to his own beliefs, nothing he can say can have any eternal significance for the rest of the world.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Metro book club, we are at it again!

I was reading 'Fundamentalism' and the Word of God by J. I. Packer on a metrobus, and an old, kinda toothless man got on the bus and sat a couple seats away from me.

He said, "You look like you are reading a very interesting book." He then precedes to hand me a the book he is reading, which was about a way pioneered by some Eastern religious guy. He looks over my book while I look over his, and then he asks me if I have ever been out of the country.

"Yes, I have been to Mexico, France and the United Kingdom," I reply.
He asks me, "Have you ever considered going to India? I think you would benefit greatly from a trip to India. Awaken spiritually to things you never have seen before."

We talking about learning, and I say that I would probably learn a lot about myself and the world if I went to India, but that I did not think I would find the big spiritual way that he seemed to want me to find because I already believe I found truth. I told him that Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

He was all, "Fine, if you think you already know what you need..." He seemed really offended that I was not going to hop on a plane to India and discover a path to spiritual enlightenment.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Important Issues 2--The Predominence of Scripture in the Life of a Christian

This photo shows cultural view vs. Christian view. The Elephant
has a thought bubble to explain it is an elephant. We are not left
to guess what it is to be an elephant.

A common thought in our culture is that different religions are just different ways of looking at God, but they all amount to the same thing. It is like blind men feeling an elephant, telling each other what it is they think they are near. One man feels the tail and thinks its a brush. One man hugs a leg and thinks its a tree. One man finds the trunk and thinks its a snake. One man finds its side and thinks its a wall, and so on.

That is not what Christians believe. We understand that God (or in the case above, the elephant), told us who he is through the Bible. Christians are not inherently smarter than anyone else, we just have access to God's revelation of himself to us. We know are looking at an elephant, not a fan, rock, seagull, or car, because the elephant told us it is an elephant. (Thanks to JG for the illustration).

Thus the Bible is crucial. It is God's primary way of revealing himself to his people today. John 5:24, Ephesians 1:13, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13 to name a few all portray hearing the word of God as the means of salvation. This is primarily through scripture.

Now, can God communicate through means other than text written thousands of years ago? He is omnipotent, he may do as he pleases. God can use other means, but his word is sufficient and primary. God's word fulfills multiple roles in a Christian's Life. As 2 Timothy 3 says:
6 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Another version of this passages describes scripture as God-breathed. Christians are people of the book. Christians do not need to search for other ways to discern how God wants us to live and what we need to know about him. His word, the preaching of his word, and people living according to his word are the many ways God is revealed, but it all hinges on God's word.

Can we use our reason or intuition to know things about God instead, or perhaps in addition to the Bible? That is dangerous thinking. God gave us our reason and it is a good thing, but it is insufficient. We should use the reason God gave us to help us interpret the Bible and the world around us, but we should not value it above the Bible.

When what our reason tells us and what the Bible tells us conflicts, our reason should yield to scripture, not the other way around. I will mitigate this by saying that at times, many passages in the Bible can be confusing and we may not be sure what applies to questions we have. This is a reason for us to be in a local church where we are taught the Bible, not just left to interpret the Bible on our own (hence why I wrote a post on churches).

I will write more on this in another post when I have more time, and possibly a computer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Thought for Today

"Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!"
C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning, 31 August

Friday, August 20, 2010

Important Issues 1--The Presence of a Local Church in the Life of a Christian

Are churches full of sinners? Of course. As my pastor often reminds us, the church is full of sinners who realize they need a Savior.

Are churches full of hypocrites, who talk of loving their neighbors but then ignore suffering around them, judging too quickly while ignoring their own sin? Sadly, yes. Can these churchgoers hurt those around them? Again, yes. Is that heartbreaking? Yes.

Is this an reason for us to abandon church? No. It may be an excuse, but it is not a reason.

The church is full of sinners and often viewed by outsiders as corrupt televangelists. Many have been hurt by individuals in churches or worse, hurt by local churches themselves that have misused authority.

However, the misuse of authority by a congregation does not mean that all congregations lose their authority. That one congregation caused more harm than good does not negate the purpose purpose for congregations to exist.

It is like the relationship between the parent and a child. Some parents abuse their children, misusing their God-given roles and authority, and the outcome can be devastating. Parents like this have not earned the right to be parents. However, this does not discredit parenthood and the authority that many parents use to wisely shepherd their children by keeping them safe and instructing them.

The fact that bad churches, like bad parents, exist does not discredit the need for wise and loving churches and parents in the lives of a believer and child.

Why do I need the authority of a church over me?

The Bible Says So.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some in the NKJV. Part of the reason we gather in churches is to spur one another toward love and good deeds. Can you do this with people outside of the church? Yes, but this is one of the reasons churches exist.

Also, check out Matthew 16:16-19. Christ is the one building His church on the foundation that He is Lord. That whole thing about "what is bound and loosed in earth and heaven" is about churches having authority. See also 1 Corinthians 5 for why this is important. Also here for more reasons.

The procedure that Jesus describes in Matthew 18:15-20 cannot take place if Christians are not in a local church with other Christians who know them well. Our sanctification is largely through the local church where we have other believers to hold us accountable, especially when we do not think we are sinning. If I were involved in a serious unrepentant sin, for the good of my soul, i am glad I go to a church where my friends and eventually the whole church, would try to correct me. More reasons here.

John MacArthur's website says "No Christian is a law unto himself, just autonomous running around." We are meant to be under authority. Heb 13:17

Now the authority of the church is not a pastor telling the congregation a position on some theologically issue/real life application and saying that we have to believe him because he says so. If I grew convicted that my church was wrong on something, if it was not a core issue, I would be welcome to disagree. For example, I am welcome to have any view of eschatology that fit within scripture and still be at my church. We are welcome to disagree about whether deacons need to be married.

I seek the authority of my church leaders because I want to be under wise, well-studied individuals who will remind me of the gospel and will teach me about the Bible. And yes, I can read the Bible and good books about the Bible and reason for myself, but my pastors spend hours laboring on their sermons each week. I reap the benefits of their labors.

If I initially disagree, or at least question, a conclusion they come to, I will not just close myself off to their ideas. I will meditate on and study the word, and observe people at my church who live according to those ideas. A couple at at my church did not particularly want children, but then after a few years of sitting under teaching that valued parenthood and children, and spending time with church members who lived out those teachings, they grew to desire children, and they consider their daughters a blessing from God.

It's true that you can learn things from spending time about all sorts of people. You do not need to be in a church to learn how to do nice things and to be encouraged to do nice things for people around you. You can even learn to recognize attributes of God in non-Christians around you. A lady that goes to my church met a woman with six children and noticed how the gentle way she protected her child from harm was like the way God protects his children.

However, as a Christian your life is changed by Christ's work on the cross. You learn to live according to that change by living your life with and around other believers. You cannot learn what it looks like to be changed by the gospel by hanging out with good people, only by spending time with those who have been changed by the gospel.

Other reasons that I don't want to delve into now because this post is already very long:
  • Hearing God's word preached is a means of grace--a good church will give you ample and regular opportunities to hear God's word preached.
  • A community of believers is a sweet place of fellowship, stability, accountability, friendship, iron sharping iron, and so much more.
  • The church provides a context for diverse people to grow in unity in their faith in Christ.

The church and church membership is a gift from God. No amount of distortion and abuse of this gift stops it from being a good gift. If a Christian would neglect or avoid a gift from God, I think they need to reevaluate their spiritual life... preferable in a context of other maybe a local church.

More resources:, Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church or What is a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Last post from summer camp... summer is over :(

Random kid: "Where do frogs sit? on toadstools."
Gabriel: "That takes my breath away!"

Gabriel: "My cracker has a crack in it. is that why they are called crackers?"