Friday, October 28, 2011

Marathons, Labor Pains, and Bus Rides

Have you heard the stories of Amber Miller and Rob Sloan?  I heard about them over the past few weeks and I find their stories, especially when looked at together, to be hilarious and pretty insightful.  I'll start with the bad guy in the story.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Theology Thursday: Is Swearing a Sin?

** Last week I covered the topic of homosexuality.  Username Richard the Atheist commented on my article to argue against me.  If you'd like to see my response to him, which is long (I warned you!), then CLICK HERE.**

Is swearing a sin?  The D word, the S word, the F word.  Do we offend God when we use this kind of language?  Should Christians use them?  My opinion may not be the clear cut answer you were looking for.  As a youth and children pastor, believe me, I wish I could say definitively that all swearing is bad.  That would keep the parents at church happy with me.  But, at the risk of drawing their wrath, let me share my honest thoughts on this issue with you.  Let me caution you, this article will get a bit explicit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jesus and the Cup

Where do you turn when times get tough?  What do you do when you're scared, frustrated, lonely, or angry?  My daughter Michaela starts with a pout and works her way up to a really strong cry.  My brother and I have punched walls before when life got rough for us.  As a kid I used to hide under my blanket in bed when I got scared.  Now, I have a tendency to either bottle things up or complain to my wife.  What do you do?  Where do you go?

Jesus sets a wonderful example for us in Luke 22:39-45.

Jesus is about to be tortured, beaten, scourged, humiliated, spat on, and crucified.  He knows this.  And worst yet, the wrath of God is about to be poured out on Him.  Could you imagine the weight of knowing that?  He knows He is about to be arrested and it is all about to begin.  Jesus finds Himself with all of these worries overwhelming Him.  And this is what He does.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feature Friday: Edgar Allan Poe did WHAT!?

I'm a pretty big fan of Poe.  Casque of the Amantillado, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell Tale Heart, and of course The Raven are classics.  A few days ago I heard that a new movie called The Raven is coming out in March.  I was really excited.  I was going to link the trailer here, but its a bit gory, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.

John Cusack will be playing Edgar Allan Poe in this movie which retells one of the most amazing parts of Poe's life.  A lot of Poe's poems and stories are dark and involve murders and deaths that range from a plague spreading in a ballroom to a man being buried alive behind a brick wall.  The movie focuses on a series of murders that occured in the 1800's.  These murders were exact copies of the ones that Poe wrote about.  This led the police to at first suspect Poe, but eventually Poe had to join forces to help the police catch this copycat killer.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Theology Thursday: What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

I recently got into a long conversation about homosexuality.  I was absolutely shocked to see that Christians I knew were claiming that homosexuality was not a sin.  I was even more astounded when this person began to twist Scripture to support his claims.  

My wife and I watch Modern Family every now and then.  Two of the main characters are gay men with an adopted child.  Gay marriage is now legal in six states in the US and there will probably be more to come.  Many celebrities like Niel Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser/How I Met Your Mother) and Ellen DeGeneres are out of the closet and proud of it.  With homosexuality becoming a regular part of our culture, Christians need to know what God has to say about this topic.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Bible: You're doing it wrong!

Among many other Memes on the internet, "You're Doing It Wrong," has become quite popular.  And because I am a Star Wars nerd, here is another good one.

In John 5:39-40, Jesus tells a crowd of people, "The Bible: You're doing it Wrong".  Take a look.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making a Ding in the Universe

Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, passed away just nine days ago on October 5.  It didn't take long for Facebook to light up for this man.  Dozens of people that I know changed their profile picture to the above photo, an apple logo, or some other commemorative picture.  Status updates featured lines like: 

"Goodbye Steve Jobs. You have changed the world forever and your legacy will live on. Prayers go out to your family and those that are grieving."

Other people tossed up inspirational quotes from Jobs on Twitter like this one:

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” - Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Theology Thursday: Proving God Exists - Part 3

Disclaimer: In parts 1 and 2, I basically said that I don't think you can prove that God does or does not exist with 100% certainty.  Let me clarify what I meant by that.  I do believe God exists.  God exists whether you believe He does or not.  I believe this is the truth of the matter.  In addition, I believe that there is sufficient evidence for God's existence that it leaves you without an excuse if you choose to believe He doesn't exist.  Romans 1:19-20 says this.  What I meant by saying that you can't prove that God exists is that there is no argument that you can present to 10 different atheists and have 10 out of 10 of them convert from atheists to theists.  I don't believe this is so much a matter of having a lack of good arguments or proofs, as I believe this is the result of our tendency to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" as Romans 1:18 puts it.  God is real and God does exist.  There is plenty of evidence but there will always be those who fight this truth.

The Fine Tuning Argument

This time around, we will be looking at a more modern argument for the existence of God.  This one is very heavy on science and math, but I'll try to avoid the numerical details and just give a basic understanding.  If you actually want all of the math, I'll provide some and I'm sure you can find more with a good google search!  Today's argument revolves around the way a great number of conditions in the universe and world come together to create a relatively wonderful environment for us to live in.  It can be considered a part of the Design Argument that we looked at last week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Last Supper: Ripe with Meaning

Ever watch a movie where it just all comes together at the end?  Movies like Fight Club, Usual Suspects, Ocean's Eleven (12 or 13 as well), and the A Team are exciting to watch.  When all of the pieces line up at the end, its just awesome!  Whether its a mystery that is revealed in the end that was cleverly hidden through the whole movie or a plan coming together, it can often leave us thinking about it for a long time.  Its just like the Last Supper...

We remember the Last Supper every time we participate in communion at church.  I'm teaching Luke 22:14-20 to the children at church this Sunday.  As I've been reading it and preparing, I'm blown away by the amount of meaning packed into this event.  As Jesus shares this meal with His disciples, we can actually see the fulfillment of the Old Testament.  Its amazing how much is going on in these verses.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Theology Thursday: Proving God Exists - Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1, I don't really think there is a way to prove 100% that God does exist.  But I do believe there are very strong arguments that can be made to defend the existence of God.  I hope these provide strength for your own faith and aid you in sharing your faith with others.

Today's age old argument is one that has only developed a stronger case over time.  It is the Design Argument.

The Basic Idea

Look at these two pictures.  In the first one, we see lines in the sand.  I have one question for you about the first picture.  How did the lines get there?  Now look at the second picture.  It is also a picture of lines in sand.  How did these lines get there?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Opportunities in Crisis

Ever have a bad day?  I mean a really bad day?  The kind of day where you want to punch through a wall.  The kind of day where just one thing after another goes wrong and the whole world seems like its out to get you.  The kind of day that leaves you collapsing onto your bed in exhaustion but too overwhelmed to think as a million and one things race through your mind. Have you had one of those days?

In Luke 21, Jesus describes a series of bad days that can hang with the worst of them.  Let me show you just two of those verses.