Friday, 5/29/20 – Friday Tough Question

Ravi Answers…

20200528_141617Last week we lost that great apologist of the faith, Ravi Zacharias. Ravi was masterful in giving an educated and reasoned response to many of the deepest questions of humanity.

Ravi distilled mankind’s lostness into four fundamental and universal questions. They touch upon four fundamental aspects of human experience and have been matters of religious and philosophical debate throughout human history. They are questions of Origin, Morality, Meaning and Destiny.

Origin: “How did I come into being?
Morality: “How can I determine right and wrong?
Meaning: “What is the purpose of life itself?
Destiny: “What happens when I die?

20200528_141726Ravi argued that Jesus is the Answer to them all! This was not merely a matter of opinion for Ravi, but of conviction. “Opinions are something that you hold to; Convictions are those which hold you,” he said. Ravi had experienced the dramatic life transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Today, I would like to share with you a few other quotations of this great brother in Christ…

On God’s Purpose and Calling…
“The world was made for the body. The body was made for the soul. And the soul was made for God.”

“There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny.”

On Truth…
“We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.”
“Respect for the right of another to be wrong does not mean that the wrong is right.”
“Truth by definition excludes.”

On God’s Presence…
“I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.”

On Faith…
“…If you do not believe that God is in control and has formed you for a purpose, then you will flounder on the high seas of purposelessness, drowning in the currents and drifting further into nothingness.”

On Love…
“…if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.”

On Life…
“…meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain; meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure… that is why we find ourselves emptied of meaning with our pantries still full.”

“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.”

20200528_141645Ravi Zacharias was diagnosed with a rare, malignant spinal cancer in March, 2020. He died at age 74 at his home in Atlanta on May 19, 2020.

We shall miss him.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 5/28/20 – Discipleship –

God’s Will (& COVID-19)

gray glass panel

On “Ideas” (CBC Radio) this morning Euclidian geometry is being questioned. The example is given how the ”rules” of a triangle may not be “rules” at all but merely one truth among many. The rules of Euclid’s triangle were based upon a triangle drawn on a flat surface, but, the idea continues, suppose you draw a triangle on a round surface, like a balloon, well then the rules of Euclid’s triangle do not apply; now there is a new “rule” of the triangle, an alternate truth!

woman writing formula on whiteboard

The devil, having fooled society into believing in multiple moral truths, now appears to be moving on to dupe us out of mathematical truth as well. But the facts of a triangle drawn on a flat surface are not disproven by the discovery of other facts of a triangle drawn on a round surface. Nor are the facts of a triangle set aside by someone’s belief in incorrect facts about a triangle drawn on a flat surface – just as the facts about a triangle drawn on a round surface do not change by believing incorrect facts about them.

3+4=7 and 3×4=12. These are both true. Neither annuls the other. But 3+4=6 or 3×4=13 are both false… no matter how many people may believe them to be true. Indeed, the whole world may be duped to think 3×4=13 but in the end the three piles of four items will always total twelve!

sky sunset person silhouette

What is God’s Will? One thing for certain, it is God’s Will, not mine, not yours, not the collective opinion of any majority. It is God’s Will, and it remains the standard of all Truth.

If Covid-19 has taught this lost planet anything it has demonstrated that God is Sovereign, and that we had better return to taking Him into account if we wish to end up on the truth side of the equation—for it is a very serious equation indeed that we each must work through in our lifetime.

gray magnifying glass and eyeglasses on top of open book

FACT: God is Holy, He is Spirit, Eternal.
FACT: I am NOT Holy, My body is Temporal.
FACT: Unholy cannot dwell with Holy.
FACT: My body will die. My soul will not die.
FACT: Your body will die. Your soul will not die.

God has presented to us the only equation for salvation, unchanging since the foundation of the world:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

I’m sorry if you think it sounds old, dusty, or boring. It is the truth essential for this lost humankind. It is earth and fire and water, sunshine and gravity. Remove any and you are gone!

Oh Earth, learn the lesson of Covid-19. It is time to come home to God.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 5/27/20 – Pressing on…

Harmony

group of people raise their hands on stadium

Heaven is a place of worship… of singing… of harmony. What is a song? Is it not many notes, expressed through numerous instruments, using various voices, tempos, beats, melodies and rhythms? But it is one song.

Perhaps during this Covid-19 pandemic you have seen artists or individuals collaborate together online with other artists or individuals to create an ensemble singing encouragement to the masses. Many people, many voices, many places coming together to make a unity… a beautiful unity of individuals uncompromised in their identities, yet making one whole.

This is diversity plus unity creating harmony.

silhouette of person on cliff beside body of water during golden hour

Spirit-led worship is a wonderful thing. Everyone is in prayer as much as in song, sounds rise and swell, recede and whisper, vocals and musicians sense the same rise and fall, the Spirit of the Lord blows where it wishes and voices and instruments follow. Then, it subsides… everyone together… and the season gently closes. There is silence as the Dove lingers…

Harmony… Spirit-formed harmony… is a wonderful thing. As Pastor Andrew read last Sunday, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1).

Few of us can imagine that blessedness. Consequently, few of us hunger for it. Instead, as Pastor Andrew also said, “Many settle for peace, not unity.” Peace is good, but Christ has so much more for His beloved. He has unity. Unity in Him.

group of people walking on beach

But He does not want us to wait for heaven; He wants us to display this unity NOW! How do I know? Because He says it is this unity which will lead the lost to believe! “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21). And He says it again, “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v.23)

Oh with what pain the Saviour must ache for us to put down our pettiness and pick up His purity, patience, and God’s forgiving love which “covers a multitude of sins.” (Jas. 5:20).

Let’s not be His fighting children which brings Him grief. As John urged, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7). He intends to bring us to unity so we be wise to work with Him towards it.

Press on…

20190116_145626To view Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the page from the church website.

Tuesday, 5/26/20 – Pressing on…

Diversity

person holding white jigsaw puzzle piece

Does Unity worry you? Do you fear losing yourself? Does becoming one with Christ sound like (for Star Trek fans) assimilation by the Borg? Like becoming one big blob of spiritual mystery?

That doesn’t sound like the loving God I see in His Creation. Yet, how do we reconcile this portrayal in scripture of a place where the redeemed “will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). This place which will be absent many loved ones we knew but who did not come to trust in Christ? That place of unending praise – unending praise! Yes, some things about heaven can seem unsettling at present.

Paul wrote,

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:11-12).

photo of blue glass bottle laying on book

I remember being a child. I remember the great joy I took in a new comic book superhero adventure. I remember dreaming and imagining wondrous worlds in play with my homespun space dolls. I remember the care and attention I put into assembling model kits and painting them with great detail.

I have none of these treasures today. In fact now they mean little to me. Most were disposed of during my teens as other more maturing interests took my attention.

“…when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” (v.10)

unrecognizable african american scientist studying anatomy with tablet

Jesus likens His Church to a Body: Christ the Head, the Church the body, and each of us as believers as “members in particular”. What a perfect illustration: diversity, yet unity. Fingers, veins, kneecaps, ribs and countless other bits large and small all coming together in a functioning body with each part wholly involved in doing its bit, being fully fulfilled in doing it and all the while benefiting the whole body as well. But what’s more… soon this body will be United with its Head! Oh wonderful day! Now the whole of it will function so very well indeed! That is the Unity Christ desires… the Unity the Wise Head desires… and if we fully understood it it would certainly be the Unity, with diversity, For which the body also longs.

female monarch butterfly perching on red petal flower

Does a transformation like that sound ominous? I should think not. As Alice’s caterpillar friend replied yesterday when Alice asked him if he didn’t think becoming a butterfly one day might not be unsettling, ‘Not a bit,’ said the caterpillar. Some transformations complete us. They are just as they are meant to be.

More tomorrow…

To view Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the page from the church website.

Monday, 5/25/20 – Pressing on…

Unity

20200524_202612Who are you?‘ said the Caterpillar….
Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’
… I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’
‘It isn’t,’ said the Caterpillar.
‘Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice; ‘but when you have to turn into a chrysalis — you will some day, you know — and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?’
‘Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.*

photograph of a burning fire

When Moses encountered God in the burning bush and the Lord commanded him to go to Pharaoh to begin the deliverance of the Hebrews, Moses replied, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exod. 3:11). God answered Moses saying He would be with Him and when Moses enquired Whom he should tell the Hebrews had sent him God responded, I AM Who I AM.” This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” He said, “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.” (v.14,15b).

Interesting, isn’t it, that man identifies himself with his lostness, “Who am I” while God identifies Himself with His Self-Existence, “I AM Who I AM.” The Hebrew statement “I AM” derives from the verb “to be or to exist.” By declaring Himself in this way God is saying He is ever-present, eternal, self-sufficient, self-determining, and unchanging. God is One. God is Unity and Diversity. God is Trinity, a word we use to describe this unique three-in-one Unity.

baby in white onesie holding wooden blocks

He has made us like Himself, three-in-one, as body, mind, spirit… as offspring, spouse, parent… yet as one. He has given us earth, sea, atmosphere… and told us to multiply… to make many… many for Him… for eternity, as Jesus prayed for as many as will believe, “to be with me where I am, and to see my glory” (John 17:25). And He intends to make believers so intimately connected with Him that we too are “one.” No more, “Who am I?” for we will have reached that completeness spoken of by Paul, that

“…unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ…. no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Eph. 4:13-15).

sunset

We don’t yet fully know who or even what we are. But big change is certainly coming. John said, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2). Jesus prayed, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you… that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” (John 17:21, 23).

Now that’s something to work towards! — Something to work towards today.

More tomorrow…

* Lewis Carol, Alice in Wonderland

To view Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the page from the church website.

Friday, 5/22/20 – Friday Tough Question

Does God know who will be saved? Do we really “choose” hell?

silhouette of man standing on rock under starry night

If we are going to ask the question “Does God know who will ultimately become saved?” we must realize there are two possible answers:

“Yes, God does know who will be saved,” or
“No, God does not know who will be saved.”

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of the attributes of God.

God we understand to be Infinite, in other words He is in every place. He is also understood to be Eternal. This means He exists from our finite human perspective in every “time.” In other words God exists in yesterday, today, and tomorrow — not that He existed yesterday exists today and will exist tomorrow, but that He exists concurrently in all of these. This is why it can be said that Jesus Christ was “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) – that’s before mankind was created… before any possibility of human sin.

sky space dark galaxy

God is also understood to be Omniscient, which means all-knowing. This attribute alone seems to necessitate that God knows who will be saved. Adding the fact of his eternality we understand He exists in our future just as truly as He is exists now in our present. He is thus as equally aware of those coming to Christ now as He is of those who (from our perspective) will come to Christ in what (from our perspective) we call the future.

Given the fact of these divine attributes and the fact there are two possible answers to the question, the matter may simply be boiled down to this: Which answer seems most reasonable? That is, which is the most consistent with the attributes of God?

man standing near snow field

We are drawn to only one possible conclusion: God does indeed know who will be saved. But be clear about this: the fact of His knowing is in no way causative – i.e. He is not making them become saved, He just knows. We have free will and we can choose to or choose not to turn to Christ, to trust His pure sacrifice efficacious to atone, to take Him as Lord as well as Saviour. The fact that God knows already what we will decide does not diminish the fact of our free will.

We can understand this concept better by looking backwards. If I saw my wife having a fried egg yesterday for breakfast I can know that fact today. This is possible because I consciously existed yesterday as much as I do today as well. God is not so limited. He consciously exists tomorrow as much as He does in any temporal period. Remember, He created time as well as space (Gen. 1).

sad mature businessman thinking about problems in living room

But this understanding does not necessitate God causing known things in our future to occur. Just as my past knowing what my wife chose to have for breakfast is in no way causative of her decision. She freely decided to have an egg. She could have chosen to have something else, something unhealthy that would make her sick. But she chose an egg, nutritious, wholesome.

Consequences follow our choices and though God knows our decisions past and future He does not make them happen. He does however make every effort to draw us to the choice that is good for us, and that choice is Christ.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 5/21/20 – Discipleship – Evangelism (& COVID-19)

Evangelism (& COVID-19)

man handing a beer from the cooler

There is a difference between what it means to “pass it on” (see yesterday’s blog) and “pay it forward” ( a phrase popularized since the 2000 romantic drama film by the same name.) To “pass it on” is to have been given something from someone else and then to give that thing to another. The item was never yours, you received it freely, and it cost you nothing to give it to someone else.

photo of person handing card

To “pay it forward” means to have received some benefit, assimilated it fully, and then when an opportunity arises you give from your own consolidated resources a benefit of some kind to someone else. In short, someone does a gracious act to you and so you in turn do a gracious act to another. When you “pay it forward” you receive a thing or a service and make it your own, then later from your own resources sacrifice a thing or a service to someone else.

two boys sitting on bench wearing hats and long sleeved shirts

Passing it on” honors the original giver; “paying it forward” honors yourself. “Passing it on” is sharing; “paying it forward” is transaction.

It is really only possible to give grace out of your own experience of having received grace. The “beggar” who finds bread and shares it with another can accept no praise for having created the bread. No… He knows that in his own self he is still merely a beggar. It is like this with all God’s graces.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life…” (1 John 1:1…)

“…I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you…” (1 Cor. 11:23)

“…I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3-4…)

Praise… the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God…” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

photo of mountain under cloudy sky

Have you fretted during Covid-19 and found solace in Christ? Have you rested calmly through this crisis because your confidence is in Christ? Have you been thrust into financial need and found hope, strength, resources through Christ, His people, His Church? Have you lost loved ones or suffered personally because of the virus yet found comfort and encouragement in the Lord? “Pass it On.” When it comes to grace, we can only truly give what God has given to us.

Pass it On

and…

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.