Wednesday, 12/22/21 – Pressing on… On Intellect and Incarnation

On Intellect and Incarnation

Jerry and I were “deep thinkers.” After comic books, G.I. Joes, James Bond and Star Trek, he and I entered our philosophers and star-gazers phase. For hours most evenings we would sit on the large and accommodating clothestand in our backyard, lean back, stare at the stars and postulate our “deep thinker” thoughts. It was a stimulating time. Jerry was to me what I imagine William Kirkpatrick must have been to C.S. Lewis. Of him Lewis writes,

“If ever a man came near to being a purely logical entity, that man was Kirk. Born a little later, he would have been a Logical Positivist. The idea that human beings should exercise their vocal organs for any purpose except that of communicating or discovering truth was to him preposterous. The most casual remark was taken as a summons to disputation…. Some boys would not have liked it; to me it was red beef and strong beer.” – C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, (1955).

Jerry sharpened my intellect, made me think of all angles and formulate a defense… in fact, though never himself a Christian, Jerry helped teach me the art of apologetics.

We were good buddies. Our backyards abutted each other making frequent visits easy through the old dilapidated gate. I’d often sit out on that clothestand waiting and watching for him.

But our exchanges were wholly intellectual. Emotion seldom entered into them. Jerry was Mr. Spock, and I just a crewman in red.* Everyone loved Mr. Spock, but I think few would enjoy being him. Humans were not designed to be computers, we were designed to love and love at its best is love for God.

Without Him we would never know love. In Him love was manifest in human form. “God is Love” and “Life has Meaning.” These were the two points presented to us last Sunday. Without love all intellectual activity is worthless. Life is meaningless. As said Augustine, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” – Augustine, Confessions. God Incarnate is Love Incarnate, and it is by Him that we know love at all.

Thank the Lord for Love, His Love, this Christmas!

Press on…

* Star Trek TOS fans will recognize my point. The guy in red was always the landing party expendable, never a regular, and most certainly the one to get zapped, disintegrated, crystalized or left behind.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Thursday, 12/16/21 – What’s up with the Will of God?

What’s up with the Will of God?

“How could there be an all powerful, loving God when…”
“If God exists, then why is there so much…”
“I refuse to believe in a God Who allows…”

I’m sure you’ve heard or possibly even uttered sentiments like these. In a world filled with injustice, hatred, selfishness, and on and on… how can we understand the silence of an Almighty, Supremely Loving, Holy Entity? If such a One exists then surely this Being is able to enact its loving will upon its creation. What’s up with the Will of God?

I sometimes wonder if it doesn’t grieve the heart of our Lord and Maker that we are still asking this question and either passively or blatantly blaming Him?

You see, clearly there is something wrong somewhere. There is no denying that. But we must start the analysis of this “wrongness” from the correct basis: God IS Loving and Good and All-Powerful and much more besides. But there is indeed this disconnect. There IS evil in this world… sorrow… suffering… and gross injustices. We notice it, we feel it, and we dislike it much.

But might it be, in this world of wrongness, that we too are wrongly asking the wrong One, all the wrong questions? What if God, Lovingly, Powerfully, and out of His Holiness is asking us, “What’s up with the will of mankind?” What if God, like the parent of a wayward youth, looks down upon us after having made us well, sacrificed for us, and demonstrated His great power and deep love for us, is now weeping in heaven over the paths we have chosen, the evils and destructions our ways have wrought upon us, and our hatred and blame toward Him… after all He has done to enable our return?

Scripture tells us He has done and is doing all these things…

“As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known…'” and “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 19:41-42a; Matt. 23:37)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).
“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16).
“Now we [those trusting in Christ] 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).

Perhaps the better and more urgent question is this: “What’s up with the stubborn will of mankind?”

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, 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, 12/15/21 – Pressing on… Sorrow and Joy

Sorrow and Joy

I’m just wondering… Were you puzzled about my statement at the end of Monday’s post this week? After stating that abiding joy is found only in loving obedience in Christ and that this joy is among the “gifts” of His Spirit living in and through us, I said “It [Joy] is found in only in Christ, and remains — even in times of sorrow.”

Sorrow, yet Joy? How is that possible? And what does that look like? Are you crying… laughing? Aren’t these things opposites by definition?

So far this week our Advent themes have pondered Hope, Peace, and now Joy. Paul referenced all three of these in his letter to the believers in Rome. He wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13).

In another letter he reminded the sorrowful Thessalonians, that as believers they “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thess 4:13). Why? Because they had hope. In their flesh they may have felt grief, but grief, like happiness, is also temporary. “Weeping may tarry for the night,” wrote the psalmist, “but joy comes with the morning.” (Ps. 30:5).

I know, I know… many sadnesses last much longer than an overnight. But as I sometimes say to believing chronic pain sufferers like myself, “It can only last a lifetime!” And it’s true. Jesus promised us abiding joy, but He also promised us what we should expect of this life… during our sojourn time on this earth. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Or as some translations have it, “Be of good cheer!”

The joy Jesus gives “no man can take away.” This joy is your possession forever in Christ. Though you may feel sorrow, you have joy! What you feel is fleeting, but what you have is eternal. Think on this truth when life is hard; “…the joy of the Lord is your strength,” said Nehemiah (Neh. 4:8). Let it bring strength to you!

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22).

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Thursday, 12/9/21 – What is Evangelism?

What is Evangelism?


Today’s Discipleship topic is Evangelism. Dictionaries vary in their definition of Evangelism, such as “the zealous advocacy of a cause,” “the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ,” “a militant or crusading zeal,” “spreading the gospel,” or “telling the gospel message.”

I suppose these definitions depend largely on whether or not the one making them is a believer. Things most usually look different from their inside than they do from without. But perhaps the more important question is “What did Jesus mean by evangelism?” Or, even without the word altogether, “What does He tell us to do?”

We know He had in His heart the desire that through Himself His disciples, indeed all believers “…be brought to complete unity” in order that “…the world will know that You [the Father] sent Me [the Son] and have loved them [the believers] even as You [the Father] have loved Me [the Son].” (John 17:23). We know His parting command to all believers was “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). We know that the need is great, “The harvest is plentiful,” and “the workers are few,” and we know His command to “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt. 9:37-38).

We know also that He blessed His Church with persons especially gifted in this: “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11) and that these ought not shirk their duties. “Do the work of an evangelist,” Paul adjured Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5). Yet we know we are allChrist’s ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20), salt and light to a dark and tasteless world. And we know too that we must “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Our job is to testify (tell), to witness (what we know and have experienced ourselves), along with the many other testimonies which enter the courtroom of each individuals heart, to add our bit to sway them to faith, away from the sentence of death which otherwise bears down upon them. We need not be lawyers for their defense. The Holy Spirit will do that.

What is the definition of evangelism? Perhaps the best I know is the one I learned in Bible College many years ago: “Evangelism is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results with God.” It is “One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, 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.

Monday, 12/6/21 – Pressing on… When Peace Don’t Come Easy!

When Peace Don’t Come Easy!

I guess I always thought the peace of God should be immediate, a matter of just finding that right spot… that “cleft of the Rock,” that “shelter in the time of storm,” or that focus of one’s thinking. Indeed, do not the scriptures affirm this?

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isa. 26:3).

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Col. 3:15a).

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11)

Certainly there is that initial peace, that oneness with God that comes by salvation: by agreeing with God as to one’s sinfulness, helplessness, and need, turning to Him in surrender, turning about and following Him. This is the peace of which Paul wrote: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). “For He Himself is our peace…” (Eph. 2:14a). Even as the angel announced and which we celebrate this season, “…on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14). And certainly too there is that hiding place in Him to which we can turn and settle our hearts at rest: “…green pastures… still waters…” (Ps. 23:

But there are also times when peace must be sought… when a battle for it must be fought… “Seek peace and pursue it” wrote the psalmist (Ps. 34:14), words repeated by Peter (1 Pet. 3:11). Such a pursuit is at times required, and of late, such a struggle has been mine.

About such pursuit Matthew Henry comments, “If peace seem to flee from us, we must pursue it; follow peace with all men, spare no pains, no expense, to preserve and recover peace; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal, both in honour and interest, for peace’ sake.” – Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary

Note the verbs in that statement: pursue, follow, take pains, expense, preserve, recover, deny oneself. Sometimes a hard decision is necessary, only after which one senses that affirming hand of assurance upon one’s shoulder, that peace of the Holy Spirit, the “peace which passes understanding” (Phil. 4:7) for there appears no visible basis for it. It is a peace borne by faith, very real faith.

Such is our case today. Peace may wish to flee from us we face uncertain tomorrows; we must pursue it. We must remind ourselves of the Love, and Promises, and Purposes of God and by faith follow them. We must take pains to refuse negativism and rather “encourage one another more and more” (Heb. 10:25). In time, whether or not troubles cease, peace will come.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

More tomorrow… 

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 12/3/21 – Understanding Nothing…

Understanding Nothing…

Restless, I was awake at 3:30 AM this morning; by 4:00 AM I had given up sleep and begun my morning exercises. On the CBC Radio One program “Ideas” the viewpoints of poet-philosopher Martin Heidegger were contrasted with those of empiricist Rudolf Carnap. Their 1929 debate probed the meaning of “nothing” and led to as yet unresolved tensions regarding the very nature of philosophy. The question: is philosophy closer to art, or science?

The discussion was amusing yet brought to mind several warnings of scripture: “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking,” Paul cautioned the Colossians (Col. 2:8). “Avoid foolish controversies” he urged Titus. (Titus 3:9-10). To Timothy Paul emphasized “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the pointless discussions and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.” (1 Tim. 6:20). And James reminds us all, “Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (James 3:15).

Now I thank the Lord for the great apologists of the faith, the defenders of truth, those skilled intellectual debaters who can clearly refute such “opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim. 6:20, NIV). Paul himself engaged with the philosophers of Athens (see Acts 17:16-32). But Truth comes only from God. Philosophy plays with the mind but, as the story of Job so clearly illustrates, the answers of infinity are not intellectual.

The wise believer will combat philosophy with the Truth of God, by “the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Cor. 1:21). “We do not use words that come from human wisdom,” explains Paul. “Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.” (1 Cor. 2:13). “For the wisdom of this age is foolishness with God” (1 Cor. 3:19).

A man with an argument is always at the mercy of the man with an experience. “Whether He is a sinner or not, I don’t know,” said the former blind man. “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:23).

What is “Nothing”? “By faith we understand…” (Heb. 11:3).

I think now I will try to catch a nap!

Press on…

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

Thursday, 11/25/21 – Prayer: Is it Real?

Prayer: Is it Real?

As it turns out today’s discipleship blog is also on the topic of Prayer — our speaker’s message this past Sunday and the focus of every post this week. Perhaps the Lord is trying to tell us something? What do you think it might be? Do you believe in prayer? Do you believe that prayer can actually accomplish something? Do you truly believe there is Someone out there listening? Or do you think prayer is just an exercise religious people do to make themselves feel better?

These questions are extremely important. In fact, they have a lot to do with whether or not one’s prayers are answered at all! Scripture is very clear on this. In Hebrews we read: “…anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him..” (Heb. 11:6b). In other words if we don’t believe that God is out there and listening there’s no point in pretending we are talking to Him. If we don’t believe that God can answer our prayers there’s no point in making them.

This is only reasonable. Who among us would pick a random number from a telephone directory, call it, and ask for someone whom we know full well not to be there? Or who would call a lumber yard and order a pizza knowing full well they cannot provide it? And so it is with God. As the verse cited above actually begins, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6a).

Ah yes, this stuff called “faith” — this intangible ‘something’ the definition of which opens this chapter: “…faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1). Confidence… assurance… but how do we get such confidence and assurance in such a silent, unseen a Being as God?

Truth is, most of us already know quite well! We grow in confidence and assurance in God just as we grow in confidence and assurance in people. We spend time with them. We learn over time whether they do or do not keep their word. We ask them for help and they give it. They ask a thing of us, and we do it! A mutual trust grows.

It is the same with God. We trust Him, put Faith in Him, just as we do other silent and unseen things. Things like love, convictions, To Thomas, who doubted then saw, Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29). That’s you and I. Do you believe?

The Apostle John wrote,

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:13-15)

Be assured in that belief… and pray.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, 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.

Thursday, 11/4/21 – Today’s Discipleship Post: Freedom!


I remember as a child growing up in a Christian home, struggling with my Bible memory verses and puzzling over Psalm 23 verse 1. The only translation I knew back then was the King James version and the way it read was “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

In my young mind I reasoned: Okay, the Lord… that’s God. He made me and everything, and He is my “shepherd.” That’s good too, isn’t it? I mean He guides me and looks after me and stuff like a man looking after his sheep. But “I shall not want”–? Why wouldn’t I want Him?

As I looked at the possibilities from all angles I eventually came to the conclusion that the verse must mean that because the Lord is my shepherd I probably shouldn’t want anything else. I mean, I should just be satisfied with Him… right? I quietly scolded David for not completing his sentences. He should have written “I shall not want anything else!

Then one day I came across the passage in a more recent translation. It rendered the verse “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not lack any good thing.” Aha! The dusty old light in the back corner of my attic brain clicked ‘on’! “Want” meant lack, to fall short of having enough of something. Because the Lord is my shepherd and looks after me He will see that I will always have enough of what I really need!

Almost immediately another Old Testament passage also clicked clear — the one about King Belshazzar* reading the handwriting on the wall of his Palace informing him he had been weighed in God’s balances and found “wanting.” I got it! It meant his life had fallen short… his kingship had not pleased the Lord, and now God was about to take it from him. (In fact, Belshazzar was killed that very evening.)

But no such worries for me! “The Lord is my Shepherd!” He will see that I always have all that I need. Sometimes He gives His Sheep green pastures, quiet waters, and refreshed souls. Other times He gives guidance in which path to take, or courage when we must walk through dark valleys.

What Freedom indeed it is to have the Lord as one’s Shepherd!

Is He yours?

Press on…

* Daniel 5:27

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, 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, 11/3/21 – Pressing on… Creation Proclaims His Praise!

Creation Proclaims His Praise!

This past Sunday we considered the testimony of God in His Creation as it’s marvels and beauty, design and purpose, variety and symmetry lifted our hearts in praise to our Lord and Maker. As the psalmist sang, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

Author Lee Strobel has written extensively demonstrating how the disciplines of science support the Biblical account of divine creation.

Cosmology: Science has shown and logic demonstrates: 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe had a beginning. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Astronomer Robert Jastrow states, “The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.” This agrees completely with the Genesis account, “God said… and there was…” (Gen. 1).

Physics: The laws and constants of physics reveal astoundingly slim odds: e.g. 1. Gravity is fine-tuned to one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion. 2. The cosmological constant (energy density of space) is as precise as throwing a dart from space and hitting a bull’s-eye just a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter on Earth. Over 30 other physical or cosmological parameters require a precision so exact that a “by chance” creation of a life sustaining universe becomes laughable!

Astronomy: When one considers Earth’s position in the universe, its geological and chemical processes: e.g., a sun with just right mass, light, age, distance, and orbit in just the right galaxy and location to nurture life on a circling planet, plus multiple other factors necessary for our existence…. well, as astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe of NASA comments, “It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”

Biochemistry: Charles Darwin once admitted, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet irreducibly complex structures like cilia and bacterial flagella, must necessarily be fully present in order to function. The same is true for system of transporting proteins within cells and the complex process of blood clotting. States Biochemist Michael Behe, “…irreducibly complex systems are strong evidence of a purposeful, intentional design by an intelligent agent.”

Biology: Human DNA contains a four-letter chemical code for that individual’s construction. Stephen Meyer has shown that no hypothesis has explained how this information could appear by naturalistic means. He further states that this kind of information is always the product of intelligence. “Information is the hallmark of a mind, and purely from the evidence of genetics and biology, we can infer the existence of a mind that’s far greater than our own — a conscious, purposeful, rational, intelligent designer who’s amazingly creative.”

Consciousness: Professor J.P. Moreland sees proof of a Creator in the simple fact of human consciousness: “You can’t get something from nothing.” He asks, “How, then, do you get something totally different — consciousness, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures — from materials that don’t have that?” But if everything started with the mind of God, he said, “we don’t have a problem with explaining the origin of our mind.”

What a wonderful world! What a wonderful God!

Press on…

Content for today’s post drawn extensively from Focus on the Family, The Design Hypothesis.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Link to video: I Believe / Creation Calls (6:22 min)

And here’s an interesting related audio message by Chuck Smith (52 min)

Monday, 11/1/21 – Panting through the Pandemic

Panting through the Pandemic

A popular worship song by Maranatha proclaims, “As the deer panteth for the water / So my soul longeth after Thee. / You alone are my heart’s desire / And I long to worship Thee”

The words are those of the sons of Korah, taken from the first verse or two of Psalm 42, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Ps. 42:1-2)

The song is a lovely expression of the heart’s longing to reach out to God, an acknowledgment of the pliants need for Him, of one’s reliance and dependence upon Him for life and spiritual sustenance. But it does not grow out of a sense of joyous nearness to Him: in fact, it grows from quite the opposite. It grows from the psalmist’s experience of great absence of His Presence, his experience of a great depression in his soul.

My tears have been my food day and night,” he laments. “I remember…how I used to go to the house of God… with shouts of joy and praise.” But now his acquaintances mock him. “Where is your God?” they scoff.

This son of Korah is bewildered, downcast and very depressed! “Why, my soul, are you downcast? / Why so disturbed within me? He says to himself “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him.” He likens the depth of his soul’s longing to waves and breakers bursting and calling out to what he knows of the ocean depth of God’s goodness and love. He cries out “Why have you forgotten me? / Why must I go about mourning…” and he questions his soul once again “Why, my soul, are you downcast? / Why so disturbed within me?” He reiterates his former self plea, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Animals both wild and domestic do not need lessons in panting. Thirst immediately prompts the quest for water. Finding it, they instinctively know what to do. This psalm ends with the author still panting… still desperate. He writes another… and concludes it with the very same plea,

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? / Why so disturbed within me? / Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Ps. 43:5).

Perhaps you are feeling somewhat like him. Four times now we have hoped this pandemic was ending, yet four times this hope turned again to despair… bewilderment… depression. Let me encourage you to persist… to speak challenge to both your weary soul and the souls of others and affirm “I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Believers are in this world Christ’s Ambassadors… light and salt… bearers of hope to a hope-less humanity. Even now you know for Whom you pant. Many others do not. “Come now… rise… let us be going…” (c.f. John 14:31).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.