The God Who Is There

My roommate loves this topic. Of course, it also has value from a past memory. The first time we met, he and his mother and I went to a pizzeria in my old town where we chatted about Christian apologetics and other such topics. I had recently done a debate on the Problem of Evil and so I elaborated on a theory of mine. I call it “The God Who Is There.” I get the name from Francis Schaeffer’s book “He Is There And He Is Not Silent.”

C.S. Lewis told us about how we can come to God with misconceptions of who he is. Now no doubt, all of us come with limitations in our knowledge of God. God alone has perfect knowledge of who God is. However, while our knowledge is limited, we need to be sure that it is true.

Now some of you might be saying, “I affirm all the essentials of the faith. I can quote the Nicene Creed and Chalcedonian Creed backwards! JWs don’t know what to do with me because I am such a strong defender of the deity of Christ and the Trinity. My view of God is correct.”

Not so fast.

I affirm all of those. Definitely. We believe in a God who is triune and we believe in a God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God-man. However, I do believe we often have misconceptions of God and those misconceptions will affect the way that we respond to him.

Consider the Problem of Evil. It seems to boil down to “A good God wouldn’t let this happen.” Really? You claim omniscience? The Bible is blunt about reality. Evil happens. You do not see denials of that in Scripture. What do you see? You see that God is not threatened by evil. He is sovereign over it.

For the person who wants to claim there is no good reason for X to happen, well that is what he has to show.  Do we Christians have to know the good reason? No. What if we don’t know it? Well they’ve proved we’re ignorant. Not much of a victory there though. Surprise surprise! We’re not omniscient! Thank you for demonstrating that!

If you are dealing with a God who does not know the end from the beginning and does not know how all possible roads could turn out, yeah, you could make the claim that he should do something about evil. However, we are not dealing with that God in Christianity. We are dealing with the God who knows all things, including good reasons to let evil happen though we don’t understand them.

How about your past sins? Which God do you believe in? Do you believe in the God who can forgive sins or the God who keeps a record of them? Guess  which one Scripture tells us is there. We see that and know it, but guess which God we usually end up believing. I don’t think I have to tell you. You already know.

Have you ever considered how awesome it would be if you (And I as well) could look at all the garbage in our past and realize “It’s done and forgiven. It will NEVER be used against me.” We serve a God who has done that! The problem is, we don’t usually believe he has. Why? Because we have a misconception about the God who is there and the untruth we’ve accepted about God causes us more suffering than we ought to have.

How about prayer? Do you approach prayer believing in a god who is more like the god in Islam? Is he far away and distant? Are you hoping you’re in the right positions and saying the right words so that you can earn his approval and so that he will actually hear you? Do you believe he really cares about you?

In fact, have you set conditions on your prayers before? Why? Because you don’t think God will do what you want him to do or ask him to do, so you settle in your prayers. Yet I see in Scripture that we are told to ask anything. Now we don’t ask for immoral things of course, but we should realize that God is big enough to do amazing things in our lives.

In fact, do we have the right perception of him in another way? Sometimes we think him too distant. Other times, we think of him as too weak. I think a lot of this has been with the idea of God as our best friend. I have recently written about this in a blog found here called “Buddy Jesus.”

Buddy Jesus

We have made him too approachable at times instead of forgetting what Habakkuk said. In Habakkuk 2:20 we hear “But the Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the Earth be silent before him.” We are told to boldly approach the throne of grace, but too often we treat that throne like it’s a seat at a country club and God is asking us to pull up a chair and chat.

Friends. I do believe in the grace of God of course. I do believe God cares about us greatly. Let’s never forget something though. God is king! We are to approach him with that in mind. This is the God who holds the universe in the palm of his hand. This is the God that if he drew in his breath, all life would perish. This is the God who could do away with you or I in a second.

Could this be why we don’t think about God as much as we should? I consider myself a theologian. I don’t think about him as much as I should. Why? Because I don’t think he holds us in awe anymore. We’ve reduced him. We’ve wanted to make God so personal that we’ve made him less than what he is. Friends. If he’s not the God of the Bible though, I want no part of him.

A good prayer I’ve found to pray sometimes is to say this when coming to God. “Lord, not as I see you, but as you are, may you be to me.” We too often approach God with preconceptions of what he’s like that we never get to meet the real him. The real God should leave us in awe of who he is and if we are not in awe of God, then maybe it’s time to ask ourselves the question.

“Am I really dealing with the God who is there?”

Are you?

What Is

I’ve decided to do yet another series. I’m reading a book called “Telling Each Other The Truth.” In talking with Gary Habermas over some problems of mine, he recommended I order the book “Telling Yourself The Truth.” The company sent the wrong book unfortunately, but I figured I’d read it and I am enjoying it.

It makes me think about how important truth is. Habermas has concluded from the books, and I agree, that what is more important is not what happens to us, but what we tell ourselves about what happened to us. I have referred to this before by saying that A’s don’t cause C’s.

A does not cause C

Yet we are to be people of the truth. We are to approach reality as it is. We are to affirm that which is true and deny that which is false. The Christian is the one that can embrace reality as a whole because he knows that in the end, all things work for good to them that love the Lord.

So, for a time, I will be dealing with this issue. We will be looking at how our beliefs line up with the world. I actually won’t discuss many of the beliefs directly, but simply give you signs on how you and I as well could be telling ourselves false beliefs and how these false beliefs will affect us.

Why? Because you will act on what you believe. If you have a false belief about something, you will have a hard time with reality. Now naturally, I don’t think any of us will develop perfect beliefs before eternity. We’re all still learning. I also don’t say we will know all things. Having false knowledge is different from having limited knowledge.

I hope it’s an exciting journey as we go along this ride. I hope especially that you and I both will learn something from it.

Musings on Friendship

I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. I don’t have something definitively formulated out now. I’m just kind of thinking out loud with my keyboard. This has been on my mind a lot lately from when my roommate went back to see his family for Thanksgiving and I stayed here. The place was really empty. I managed just fine of course, but I was glad to see him back. Right now, he’s gone out to pick up some pizza.

It’s things like this that make you really think about friends. I think one of the most amazing things about them is that you choose them and they choose you. Friendship is mutual. You can say you are friends with someone, but if they do not say it in return, then you are not truly a friend with them.

Yet this relationship is entirely mutual. I find it amazing that I have a friend that I am now rooming with who lived in a totally different area, but yet we decided to transcend space as it were and come together and have this friendship consist of us being roommates. It’s really a new level of trust.

That’s also something new. We do have to trust each other more. The more a relationship grows, no matter what kind it is, the more trust is involved and the more must be given. We must trust each other to pay our half of the estate and take care of things when the other is away.

It also extends to other areas. I am hydrophobic as I’m sure I’ve said, while I believe my roommate at the pool is half-fish. I find more and more that I am probably getting closer to that point of facing my fears. What has been said by him to get me to that point? Absolutely nothing. It’s just been an attitude. That is the way it works. I see my friend and think more and more that this is something I can do too. Of course, it’ll take time, but other friends are confident it will happen.

I believe this is the amazing power of friendship. Slowly, I have seen myself becoming a more confident and capable person. I do not think I would be functioning as well as I am now if it wasn’t for having a good friend around. Of all the virtues, Aristotle and Aquinas both said that friendship was the one there was no golden mean for. You can never have enough.

And my friends know how I feel about them. I would do anything for them. They mean the world to me. I like that they don’t pressure me at all. They let me move at my own pace. They’re there when I need them, and I’m there when they need me. (I hope I am at least!) I want them to continue being with me when I celebrate my victories as I want to celebrate theirs. I hope to mourn with them in their sorrows as they mourn with me in mine.

There is just something incredible about being able to see one person and call them “Friend.”

The Laws in Leviticus

I’m in the break room at work today and I hear a discussion going on. It doesn’t last long, but what I see reminds me of a great lack that I see in the church today. Somehow, someone brings up the topic of tattoos. Now I don’t really care for tattoos. Don’t think what I’m saying is a defense of them. However, one guy says “Well the Bible says you’re not supposed to have tattoos.”

Yeah. It’s there in Leviticus. The problem was, I wanted to go up to him and say “What are your clothes made out of?” Why? Because if he had anything made out of mixed fabrics, well, the Bible says you’re not supposed to have that in the same book so you need to repent and burn those clothes.

I can imagine if I had said something, I would have got a reply like “Are you saying you don’t believe the Word of God?”

And I fear some of you might be wondering that now.

No. I am not saying that. I am saying we need to have a proper understanding. It would be your problem also if you wore mixed fabrics to tell me why you think one law is okay to break and one isn’t? However, we must be careful because Leviticus also strongly condemns homosexual behavior and we do see the same argumentation from people that since we know it’s okay to wear mixed fabrics, why do we still insist homosexuality is wrong? We’re picking and choosing.

The name for Leviticus speaks of its relation to the Levites, which were to be the priests for the people. The book is a detailed look at holiness before the Lord. There are laws in there of different types. Some are ceremonial. These include such things as tattoos and mixed fabrics. They were to remind the people of purity before God and separate them from the pagan nations, who would often use tattoos in their lifestyle.

Why no mixed fabrics? Because they were to be reminded in even their clothing that God is absolutely pure. Everything in their lives was to remind them that they were the people of a holy God. This is the ceremonial law though. It was never put on Gentiles and they were never expected to follow it.

Another aspect is civil law. Civil law in the OT would relate to the specific punishments for crimes within the nation of Israel. When someone objects to the stoning of the son that is disobedient, they are speaking more of civil law than moral law for we still condemn children who are disobedient to their parents. We don’t stone them though because we are not Israel. Israel had such laws to prepare them for the Messiah and to show them as a kingdom of priests.

The ones that still apply to us all though are the moral laws. These include the laws on sexuality. How do I know? Simple. Read the text. When you read the relevant chapters, they will tell you why Israel is getting the land. God says that these people who you are driving out did these same actions. In other words, “They should have known better.” They are doing that which is wrong in my sight as everyone knows.

When the prophets speak to the other nations, look at what they are condemned for. It is not because they don’t offer burnt offerings according to Levitical methods. It is not because they are raising hybrid animals. It is because they are failing in the moral law that Paul says is on everyone’s heart.

Why write about this? Simple. I think this Christian would have been caught right between the eyes had someone from the homosexual left come up and asked him why he was picking and choosing. I also think it shows that we have a lack of biblical understanding in our culture.

Granted, there are some things hard to understand. We will spend a lifetime unraveling some mysteries in Scripture. Basic biblical interpretation should not be one of them and I suspect that one reason the homosexual left and other groups in other areas are rising is because of biblical illiteracy on our part. Bible drills in church won’t cut it. We need study. We need truth.

The Flawless Character of Christ

I’d really like you to consider the character of Jesus tonight. I was recently in a dialogue with a friend of mine. He used to be a committed Christian, but now he’s kind of sitting on the fence. I think he’s leaning towards theism and especially Christian theism, so I just keep doing what I can and praying for him. You all pray for him also. God knows who he is.

One compelling reason I hope that I gave is the person of Christ. It seems a lot of people deeply respect the person of Christ. Now I know there are exceptions out there. There are Jewish anti-missionaries who have some strong feelings about Jesus and there are some writings that don’t speak too highly of him. Most people though, do highly esteem the person of Christ.

Who can blame them? How many people have been converted by reading the gospels and seeing the person of Christ and just being stunned by him? I think it’s a tragedy for us in our day and age that we read them and we’re often not. I fear we have grown so familiar with the story that we don’t realize how shocking it is.

Our world has been turned upside-down. The things that we think all civilized people believe today were not believed before Christ. We hold them to be self-evident and we are just shocked if we bother to read history and find out that they’re really not. Before Christ came, the world was very different morally.

Go read the Republic. I love Plato, but look at what that guy wanted to do to the idea of the family. Aristotle wasn’t too keen on it either and spoke of how some people were meant to be slaves naturally. Fathers could often sentence newborn baby girls to a death of being left out in the wild to be eaten by animals just because they didn’t want a daughter.

We hold the truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal. However, not everyone believed that in the past. It is because of Christ and such ideas as Paul said in Galatians 3 that we are all one in Christ Jesus. This was ultimately what brought about an end to slavery even before it came to the New World. Go look at why Bathilda was made a saint by the church.

What is it about Christ?

Do we really believe that simple people came up with the greatest figure that the world has ever known as a giant lie and foisted it on the world? That a lie is at the heart of that which has most transformed the world as we know it? Do we really believe they’re capable of that? Could the person of Jesus really be created?

In all honesty, I don’t see how. The world has been changed entirely because of the record of three short years of life. Napoleon once said that while he may have controlled an empire, there were millions of people around the world at that moment who would willingly die for Christ.

When we want to see an example of love, we look to Christ. There is something about the cross that reminds us all of his great love for us. The way he interacted with the people of the day was unnatural, but at the same time, we all sense that that is the way that we ought to react.

Did he have enemies? Yes. Was he tough on them? Yes. Do we have any doubt that he loved them though? No. I picture Jesus saying with sorrow how he longed to gather Jerusalem, but they were not willing. I can see him entering Jerusalem with a tear in his eye because he knows what is to come since they will reject him.

We know Jesus was tough on sin also. No one ever preached harder about the nature of sin. However, prostitutes and tax collectors flocked to him. Sinners loved to be around him. I have no doubt they knew he condemned what they did, but they also knew that he accepted them. (Which, if sinners aren’t coming to us, we might want to look to see if we’re doing right.)

I also don’t think it was the miracles. Sure. Some people came for miracles and always will. I don’t think most people would look back on him and think “He did miracles.” They would look back and think of the love that he showed them. Of course, the resurrection would be there, but the resurrection of him was glorious already for they knew him to be glorious.

I suggest we all look closely at Christ. Really think about who he is and what he did. Remember that this is God with skin on. This is God breaking into our world and showing us how he is. That is, it is either that, or somehow, men have come up with the greatest hoax of all time and perpetrated it on the world as the greatest moral example of all.

Which one do you think is more likely? You decide.

The Church’s Failure With The Intellect

I started reading another book tonight. It’s “Passionate Convictions” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan. The first two chapters are about the life of the mind and how Christians need to be educated in several fields, and especially pastors should be educated. I started thinking about this in seeing how little we are educated in the school system and sadly, in the church.

Now here’s my anger.

I can fault the school system. I don’t think public schools are doing as good as they should. Now I know a lot of great men and women in the public school system. My own mother works in it. There are several godly and Christian people in there and we should thank God for them. Overall though, I look back and think my education was lacking.

But what about the church? If the school wasn’t doing it, the church should have been educating! However, what do you learn about at church? How to be a good person and get along with people. Now there is a truth that we ought to be living right. That’s true. However, Christianity is about reason just as much. It’s a faith that makes truth claims about reality. Judaism and Islam both have a strong emphasis on law. Christianity has an emphasis on reason.

Yet do we see that today? No. Anti-intellectualism has taken over. The life of the mind is no longer regarded in most churches today. I am thrilled that our new church regularly speaks on apologetics. My concern though is that we’re just one church and it’s a big world. (Of course, we could have said it’s just 12 apostles and a big world.)

I get angry though when I think about my interest in apologetics and I want to scream “Where was the church?!” I’ll be blunt with this. I have long been seen as having a keen mind. My roommate has seen me do tricks with numbers that impress most people and I used to love watching Jeopardy and any other gameshow and amassing my knowledge. I was voted Most Studious in my High School class and that was while I just drifted through High School.

The church knew that and knew my love of the Bible, but they did nothing to shape that. Now I’m sure if I’m upset by that, I’m not the only one. I didn’t know about this at all until I left for Bible College. I was teaching some classes at church even and I hadn’t submerged myself deep into it. I wonder why some pastor didn’t take me aside and introduce me to great works by theologians.

I recall reading philosophy and wondering “Where was this all my life?” I look at the questions I ask now and think “Why didn’t I think like that earlier?” I have to be blunt. The church has failed there. We are no longer treating the life of the mind seriously and it is not only people like myself that suffer, but people that we could witness to as well.

Friends. Our future is at stake and our youth need to be educated. They need to know the Bible of course, but they need to know extra-biblical information as well. They need to know history, philosophy, economics, science, etc. We Christians are not seen as authorities in these fields and it’s time we changed that.

Friends. We have the truth. Only one thing is holding us back. Us. How are we going to change the world if the world dismisses us as absurd from the get-go? It is time to return to the life of the mind.

To A Friend In The Hospital

I have a very good friend that when I met her first, she was an atheist. However, she was definitely one of the coolest atheists I knew. We got along great and we were friends before too long. I decided though that on the forum we knew each other on, that I’d talk to her one-on-one about it. She agreed. No pressure. Just a theist dialoguing with an atheist.

It was mainly on the Problem of Evil. She was very thoughtful and listened to my replies but still had questions. That was fine. I’ve done this before. I’m willing to wait. Then one day, I signed on and lo and behold, she had converted. She said she had just realized that it was true and came back home. (Apparently, she had been a Christian before.)

Now I hate to say it, but I was kind of skeptical at first. I figured I’d just wait and see what happened.

I now see that my skepticism was totally unfounded.

This girl became one of the main jewels of our forum even more. Everyone loves what she has to say and she has hardly an enemy in this world. (The only one I can think of we will get to later.) Even if they’re not Christians, they respect her. Rest assured, I certainly do as well.

Then recently, we found out through her of course, that in her time when she wasn’t a Christian, she had caught HIV. This came out after her conversion. All of us have been hurt by this news. As we speak now, she is in the hospital battling pneumonia. She’s stable now, but we pray that she comes back to us.

My friend, this blog is for you.

I want to thank you for always being there first off. You listened when we dialogued and you never stopped. You’ve always been there to talk about anything that I’ve dealt with as well and sometimes I’ll come on only to see that you’ve left me a kind message that I don’t think I deserve, but I am pleased to get.

If I hear about a friend of yours who is a non-Christian I think, “If anyone wishes to remain one, they’d better stay away from this girl.” Why? Because I think your Christianity would shine through so strongly that they would eventually be compelled to come to Christ. It’s that intense.

I have watched you grow over the past few months. When for many people, their faith would falter, yours kept going strong. When it became known that you had HIV, you never faltered either. You stayed just as strong. You did what was right and what you had to do. No. What you wanted to do as well.

Then there was that jerk that made that insensitive comment about it. You know of who I speak and so do some others. My honest reaction when I heard it, and I doubt it’s Christian, but I’m being honest, is that I wanted to slam him up against a wall and teach him a lesson and ask for forgiveness afterwards.

Not you. You always showed grace. You’re the one who has even told us to drop it. Granted, it’s not easy for me, but if it’s what you want, then I should try to do it. My guess is that you pray for this individual every night. I do too, but I suspect you have a lot more care for him than I do.

I think about how you’re there and how sometimes I’d prefer to take it on instead of you, but I think each time you would say to me and anyone else, “No. This is what I have. You have a reason God has put you here. I can handle this.” Indeed, you most certainly can and you most certainly are. You are an inspiration to us all.

You have been a blessing to all of us in the short time we have known you. Our lives are all richer because we got to see your light some. Everyone I think needs to know someone like you. We all try to do our can to reflect Christ, but I must say that you reflect him very well.

Someday, this battle for you will be over. Someday, you will be home. We will mourn that day. I know you’ll tell us not to, but we will. Earth will be a poorer place. Heaven will be richer for you being there. However, we will always remember no matter what the light you lived by in how you went about your own life. We will remember how you faced something most of us would not want to even think about and overcame it.

Maybe God will miraculously heal you and that day will be farther off. I pray that it is so, but it is not my decision. I must leave it in his hands and trust him as you are already doing. I just want you to know that I do consider you a friend I am honored and blessed to have and I do hate to see you in this kind of pain. I hope you’re back with us soon.

To you, my dear friend. May you recover and bring back your light.

Veruca Salt

One of my favorite movies is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There is just something magical about it. I have the soundtrack to it in my car and I feel just like a kid again when I watch the movie or I listen to the music. Something within this movie just resonates with me deeply.

For those who don’t know, the chocolate factory in the movie, and I mean the remake with Johnny Depp in this case as it is my favorite, is a magical type of place with the most amazing chocolate coming out of it. However, for some reason, Willie Wonka who runs the factory closes it down. Then lo and behold, a few years later, it’s running again. No one knows how though. No one comes in and no one leaves. No one can talk to Willie Wonka about it. He stays inside.

However, he sends out packages of candy with an announcement that hidden in random bars of chocolate are five golden tickets. Whoever finds a ticket can get to go into the factory with a guardian of their choice for one whole day. Through strange coincidences that border on the miraculous, young Charlie Bucket, a poor kid whose family quite literally has nothing, gets a ticket. The other four go to, well, brats.

If there is any kid that is a brat in the movie though, it is the spoiled Veruca Salt. How does she get a ticket? Her Dad owns a nut company and so has his ladies instead of working with the nuts start unwrapping chocolate bars until they find a ticket that they can give to Veruca.

Until she gets the ticket though, she is furious screaming she wants her golden ticket. Where is it? However, the day comes that the ticket is found and it is presented to Veruca. She smiles and takes it, but without a “thank you” even, she puts on a serious face and in a serious tone says “Daddy. I want another pony.”

Yes. You know the type. The one who just says “I want it!” Meanwhile, Charlie is just thrilled with what he has but is joyous that he gets to meet Willie Wonka and explore this factory that has always held his amazement. Finally, the day comes when all the children and their guardians including these two enter. (All come with parents except for Charlie whose grandfather used to work there comes.)

So what happens? They enter a room where squirrels that are trained check nuts to see if they’re good ones or bad ones. The room is shaped like a lifesaver candy with a hole in the center which leads to the garbage chute where all the bad nuts go. Veruca starts crying that she wants a trained squirrel. Her Dad is ready to pay Willie Wonka any price, but Wonka refuses to sell. At this point, Veruca says she’ll get one herself.

Long story short, she tries to grab a squirrel, but it runs and they all gang up on her and knock her down, find out she’s a bad nut, and down the chute she goes. Her Dad goes to get her since Willie says that maybe she’s “just stuck” and a squirrel gives him a knock and down he goes with her.

In the end, Charlie is the only kid left. He is told he can inherit the whole factory, but he’d have to leave his family behind. He refuses. In the end though, Willie Wonka comes around and makes up with his Dad who is a dentist who has secretly been admiring him from afar. Charlie and his family move in to the factory and the story has a happy ending.

Now you know I don’t tell a good story without a point and I’ve focused on one character for a reason.

I’ve been in two conversations lately with skeptical people and it seems that their problem with YHWH boils down to this:

“I don’t like what he did.”

What it basically means is, “God must act the way I want before I’ll believe in him.” Unfortunately, this is the Veruca Salt idea. This is the spoiled child who says that God must play by my rules and pacify my requests. This throws an entirely emotional tantrum if this isn’t done their way instead of a reasoned and logical argument.

Let us not be too quick. Chances are, we have a bit of Veruca in us all. However, there is a difference between wanting something and whining because you don’t get what you want. I, for instance, want a wife. I do not think there is anything wrong in that. It becomes wrong though if I say “Because I don’t have one, God is not just and fair. Therefore, he doesn’t exist.”

And sadly, it seems many a case of apostasy comes from the idea that God didn’t do what I would do.

We have to accept reality though. We don’t always get what we want. Thank God for that! We can want all we want for some things to be true, but if they are false, well they are false, and we just have to accept that. Whining about things doesn’t change them. Some things we can act on and we should to change them. Some things though, we can’t, and we should accept them.

Remember though the fate of the whiner compared to the one who enjoyed what he had and is seen as a figure of virtue. One did end up going down the garbage chute. The other one freely inherited the kingdom. Choose which side you’ll be on.


It’s been an interesting Thanksgiving. I spent mine in some online evangelism, in some forum debating, and in doing laundry. Of course, being the constant gamer, there was some Final Fantasy XII involved. My family is far away and I just couldn’t get out there to see them. However, I thought I’d write about what I’m thankful for and maybe it’ll help you think of what you’re thankful for.

I’m thankful for my friends. Believe it or not, I think friends have a totally different place than family. I love my family of course, but family loves you often because you are family. It has been said that we love people that if we knew just on the street we would not love at all simply because they are family. That is something that makes family unique. I love mine, and I couldn’t always tell you why, but I love them dearly. Friends are different though.

I think of my friends as the people that love me because they choose to. (I mean love in the phileo sense of course.) I take my roommate as an example. I didn’t have any choice which home I would be born into and neither did he. Both of us though had a choice in who we would move in with and we made that choice. That’s unique.

I have a community of friends all around the world through the internet and other mediums. There are a number of people I can shoot an email to around the world and know that my message is going to a friend. That’s something quite pleasing. I could travel to a number of different areas and find someone happy to see me.

I’m also thankful for where I’m at. I have a great church family here and a school I look forward to attending. For the first time, I’m out there and with a friend and I’m making it. I am doing something that many people thought I would never be able to do. I am making it just fine and rather enjoying myself.

I am thankful for what I do also. I love reading and I love Christian apologetics and I love philosophy and theology. I can’t imagine doing anything else. There is a great joy in mining the depths of who God is and his revelation and then getting to pass that information on to other people. I love how God invites us to explore him. He doesn’t want us to hold back. He wants us to use all we are to know him as he is.

I am thankful for my family of course as I mentioned earlier. They let me go and are watching me live out my dream. They know it’s hard and most people know I’m one of the most self-critical people in the world, but I am doing what I can to make it work. I am pushing and fighting and I enjoy it.

I am thankful for what God has done though and for who he is. I give thanks that I am unnecessary to the plan, but he has chosen to use me. Service is not just our gift to God. It is his gift to us. It is his gift that we are invited to come to know him and to serve him in the cause of righteousness.

None of us needed to be, but God brought us into being by his grace. It is up to us how we will respond. Will we graciously acknowledge the one who gave us life and live our lives to please him, or will we forsake him and choose to walk our own way and tell God that we will be our own god?

I am thankful especially for the revelation in Christ. I find him amazing. I see no flaw in him and there certainly is none. I do not see how anyone could have dreamed up this man that billions throughout space and time since the cross would willingly give their lives for. I just don’t see that.

It is because of Christ that I am here today and doing what I do and ultimately saying that I have a lot to be thankful for. No matter where I am or who I’m with, that doesn’t change. I could be with my family and friends or as far away as possible, but who Christ is will not change. That is ultimately what I rely on when all is said and done.

As Paul would say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

To Our New Church

Tonight, I am going to be writing another appreciation thread. My roommate and I wish to extend our thanks to our new church family. Again, he is away, but I do not believe he would really disagree with anything I have to say. We have found ourselves time and time again impressed with you and we look forward to each Sunday.

When we came to the church for the first time, we were pleased with the fellowship and people coming up to greet us. The first sermon definitely was one that we thought had meat to it and we could apply to our lives. We were able to start interacting with you from the very first day.

While we have a small community at the time, they are a close community. I think it is one of the closest I have ever been in.  We love having a church where the need of apologetics i is seen and regularly proclaimed. We’ve also enjoyed hearing accounts of missionaries overseas and how they have done.

We have been amazed with how you have treated us. In talking to my own mother about it, my words were that we feel like we’re being treated like the greatest thing since sliced bread. We were honestly shocked there wasn’t a marching band and fireworks the day we joined the church. You all are that complimentary and supportive of us.

We’ve especially enjoyed how you have a sermon and then afterwards, we have a time with more speaking on the sermon and then the floor being opened up for questions and discussions. It means that our preacher, and you are an excellent one, is willing to hope himself up to critique and have people even disagree on a point and we can all grow more in that way.

The staff in interviewing us for membership was extra cordial. We told our stories and then felt right at home. I do not recall any time at a church where I have been asked to tell about my story. Having that time as I ponder it indicates that you do have an interest in me and my roommate. We are not just numbers. We are members. We are persons.

We look forward again to every Sunday. We both eagerly anticipate doing all that we can do in the church to help it grow. We want to move forward and face any challenges that lie ahead. We want to support you as you support us. Any chance we have to see you, we want to take.

To our new church, we are in your debt. We came to you as strangers, and you took us in. I have felt a great sense of honor in being in your, no, our church. I believe with the minds we have there, we can do much. May we have some part in pushing our church forward to change our town and the world for Christ.