"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I am blessed beyond belief.
I'm sitting in a really nice house, my really nice family is getting up to start preparing a really nice Christmas celebration. I'm using my dad's really nice computer to write this, without any concern about bad things happening in my really nice neighborhood in my really nice town in my mostly awesome state in my comparatively unbelievably great country, in this modern world which has more wealth and amazing good things than any other ever has. I'm enrolled in a really nice college, have lots of really nice friends, a complete lack of enemies, really nice or otherwise. Outside the windows is an exquisitely beautiful world. God has blessed me so much in my life.
But that's not why I'm blessed beyond belief. I'm blessed because God sent His Son to Earth, and His Son came willingly, fully aware of why He was coming.
He came to die so that an ungrateful wretch of a person like me could escape the just punishment for what I have done. He deserves more honor and glory than I can ever give Him.
Thank God for sending Him! Thank God He came, because I am so proud of all the things He has given me, and so thankless for them, and so undeserving of them. I need a Saviour very much, and He fills that need perfectly.
His coming is good news for all people. He died for all who ever have, or do, or will believe in Him. He came because He loved us, not just to save us, but to adopt us into His family.
Truth is stranger and better than fiction.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

History

Today at work I started up a conversation with an elderly customer. She was resting her legs, and was glad to talk. She is eighty-one, her last name is Loid (I believe that is the correct way to spell it), and she has lived in the Fayetteville area for a long time. She remembers when my boss was born and teases him about things he did when he was a toddler. This is not something many people can do.
Hearing her talk about the past was amazing; what affected me most was hearing about her husband. He was in the marines, third division, in World War II. He and the rest of his unit, two hundred plus men, fought at Iwo Jima, where only six survived (I'm not sure if she meant survived unwounded or survived, period). He died about five years ago.
I'm sure there are plenty of stories like this, but you don't hear them from these men's wives everyday.
I got paid during the course of the conversation, but I would have payed to have it.
And that's not only because she wished her hair were as curly as mine.
I have lots to say about grandparents and history, but I think I will leave most of it for another time. Let's just say that I would have thoroughly regretted not having the conversation I had today. I will probably never get a chance to hear that lady's wisdom and history again.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Absolute Truth or The Gospel?

Which should a Christian address first? If someone does not believe in absolute truth, is it worthwhile sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, or is a belief in "truths" being just as real for you as they are for me more important?
After all, how can someone believe that there is only one God when they believe that two people can believe in two different Gods and both be just as correct!?
Personally, I prefer to avoid questions. For instance, when I am writing an outline in church and the Pastor says that his first point is "Why can Christ save us?" I write: " I. Why Christ can save us." After all, the point is the answer, not the question. [This is why the title of this post, along with the majority of the sentences in the first two paragraph's are questions. Go figure.]
I was hoping the above would somehow apply to my topic, but I don't think it did. Anyway, let me rephrase my question. Can God save someone before they believe in absolute truth? An attached question: does someone who believes in no absolute truth really mean the same thing when they say they believe something, as someone who does believe in absolute truth? Can I possibly make my sentences any more complicated?
The latter question will be answered soon enough; the former I will answer immediately: Of course not! If you really and truly do not believe in absolute truth, you cannot really and truly believe in anything. Of course, most relativists, when smacked in the face, would find that what was true for you (smacking) was true for them (being smacked). So there are few people who do not believe in any absolute truths.
It seems, however, that a pretty good number of people are convinced that they can believe one thing in their "spiritual life" and another in their "real life.' Despite the 'real' in front of the one, these two things are supposed to be just as true. They just don't affect each other.
This utter separation is foolish. Some things can be regarded as having no affect on each other. Take, for instance, the affect my sneezing here has on the star Deneb. None at all (as far as I know). The problem is that God claims to be very involved in the world and our lives. Believing in Him must have an affect on all our many "lives".
So, we should try to convince people through logic and reason that there must be absolute truth, and then share the gospel with them.
No.
The very fact just considered -- that God is involved in everything -- should give cause for pause before we assume that his gospel is insufficient to bring men to a knowledge of the truth. Certainly, it must be heard and believed. But the Gospel is not an argument with certain assumptions we must hold before we can accept it. Paul writes in Romans 1:16 "...I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..."
Ah, yes, but they must first believe it!
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2: 8). See I Cor 12:9 and Romans 12:3 as two other references for the nature of faith as a gift of God.
The assurance of the unseen reality of God and His works is another of his works, not ours. While a lack of belief in absolute truth may be the defense someone uses against believing on Christ, it is not the real reason. The real reason is that we are all dead in our sins and will not believe -- until we are made alive through Christ. Take away every defense that can be given, and still no one will believe without a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to make them alive together with Christ.
If someone believes that there is no absolute truth, God can quite easily work in their heart to make them believe in Him. They may not realize it, but they now believe in absolute truth. Now, many believers, whether consciously and vocally or not (I am included among them), pretend that they do not believe in absolute truth. This is not something that should be ignored, and there is certainly nothing wrong with discussing absolute truth with an unbeliever. But God will deal with a Christian who tries to hold relative truths, and He is quite capable of saving people who do not believe in absolute truth. The Gospel, therefore, should be the priority. Christians and unbelievers in conversation should not bog themselves down talking about absolute truth when the much larger issue of God and man is unaddressed. The power of God is the Gospel. The power of my reasoning skills, however fabulous, can't hold a candle to it. Thank Him for that!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Haiku's Do Not Have Titles

Posts do.

Justin Johns and I had fun in Calculus class today. Heather's haiku started us off.

Justin is not happy about our last test. Considering the class average grade was something like a 41%, and no one got above a C, I think that describes most of us:

I understand this
I just can't do it on tests
Stupid Calculus...

Dr. Schaffers, our Calculus professor, is 79, and we all love him. He loves making fun of us, and we've started getting into the mix ourselves. This one is based off of a comment John Davis made in class.

Schaffers tells his class
They think they live forever
They reply "you have!"

Justin replied:

Math haikus are fun
But you must see we are nerds
To the nth degree.

I chuckled and pulled out a proof:

A math nerd is in love
Says he's dependant on her
"I'm her f of x"

Later in class, Peter raised his hand with a question about the final.
"If for some reason you wanted to ruin our lives..."
"Oh, I love it," Schaffers cut him off jovially. "I'm a sadist."

The best news we got today was that we aren't meeting on Friday as previously expected.
"On the ninteenth day of Christmas, dear Schaffers gave to me...No Calculus class!"

Tidings of comfort and joy, ya'll -- no, seriously.