The Navigator: 5.27.2021

“The greatest negative issue with the church today is not sin, it’s boredom. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer ‘good news’, it’s ‘okay news’. Christianity is no longer ‘life-changing’, it’s ‘life-enhancing’. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into ‘nice people’.” – Mike Yaconelli

 

THIS SUNDAY, May 30th – Memorial Day Weekend

  • NO SUNDAY SCHOOL due to potential power outages.
  • ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE at 10:45am
  • Come hear Tom Heath bring the Word!
  • Church Office closed on Monday for the holiday.

 

IT’S HERE!

  • When? Each Wed. evening in June.; 6-8pm
  • Where? BHBC; 54th & Slide
  • Who? K-6th grade PLUS families (see below)
  • Each evening begins with a meal in our Family Life Center at 6pm.
  • Another new aspect of VBS: we’re encouraging families to come and attend together. Parents! Come sit in with your children!  What a joy it will be to learn together.

 

The question is not, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but rather, “Was there strong Bible learning?”

Teaching/Learning Tip of the Week:  ‘Review! Review! Review!’

I am a critical thinker.  I question most everything.  So, when I meet a teacher who challenges me I don’t forget them.   My wife, Michelle, is, in my humble opinion, one of the best teachers I’ve witnessed in action.  Her skill set is exemplary.  She was elected Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year in LISD.  So, based on the axiom, When you stop learning, you stop leading, on more than one occasion, I have asked her advice to help sharpen my own teaching skills.

One of the fundamentals of learning she employs is what we commonly refer to as “reviewing what we’ve recently learned.”  Simple, right?  Yet, we typically fail in this area.  There’s a reason most church-goers have no clue what the sermon last week was about – life happens and we forget.  Moreover, Satan wants us to forget.

This is nothing new.  Consider the words of, both, Paul & Peter, as they wrote their letters to Christians:

I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder… (emphasis mine)

And,…

Dear friends, this is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,… (emphasis mine)

Culture changes, technology changes, but human nature remains the same.  We will always need reminding – especially in an age of unprecedented inundation of information.

A final exhortation from C.S. Lewis, quoting a colleague in Mere Christianity:

‘People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.’

 

SEEN RECENTLY

As a lifetime Youth Pastor, I have walked the halls of countless schools from all over the state of Texas.  And when I see a poster that strikes me I take a picture of it.  Consider this one:

I suspect this is directed toward students.  But, as I considered these words it occurred to me this message goes both ways – truth for the teacher as well as the student.

 

HOW GREAT THOU ART!

“The heavens declare [recount; narrate] the glory [the manifest presence] of God, and the skies [firmament; dome; Gen. 1:6] announce [speak out] what his hands have made [the works of his hands].
Day after day they tell the story [pour forth speech]; night after night they tell it again [declare knowledge].”

The above passage from Psalm 19:1-2 is taken from the Expanded Bible Translation.

I’m presently reading Steven Meyer’s ‘Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe.’ Meyer holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science from Cambridge.

Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook. He has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005.

Linked here is an article by Dr. Egnor on Meyer’s hypothesis. It’s short, solid and will help ‘give meaning to the data’ to passages such as Psalms 8 and 19.

***The above Hubble Deep Field photo is the interaction of two doomed stars creating this spectacular ring adorned with bright clumps of gas ­– a diamond necklace of cosmic proportions. Fittingly known as the “Necklace Nebula,” this planetary nebula is located 15,000 light-years away from Earth in the small, dim constellation of Sagitta.

 

JUST A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS

Listen – and be filled with joy!

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

I recently had a ‘back & forth’ with a skeptic on social media.  The man was kind and our debate was civil, but we clearly differed on various aspects of the Christian faith.  (The goal of Christian Apologetics is not to win an argument, but to win a friend.) I’ll come back to this man in a moment.  But, the conversation prompted me to post the following on social media.

Consider the following familiar quote by atheist, Richard Dawkins:

“Next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: ‘What kind of evidence is there for that?’ And if they can’t give you a good answer, I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.”

For once, I couldn’t agree more with Dawkins.  And here’s a scenario of how I would respond.

Skeptic: “Nick, what kind of evidence can you cite in favor of theism?”

Me: “That’s a very good question.  The following evidence really had an impact on me in favor of God’s existence.  Let’s take a look at it together.

  1. The origination of the cosmos
  2. The fine-tuning of the cosmos (focusing on the 2nd law of thermodynamics/entropy)
  3. The Anthropic Principle
  4. Biology – specifically the human genome/ DNA
  5. Human consciousness
  6. The overwhelming historical reliability of the New Testament

There is more evidence from archaeology and history, but this is a solid place to start.

I have faith. But it’s not blind faith.

Nick

I will include my follow-up to this post in next week’s Navigator.

 

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT? (Nope)

I loved Flip Wilson’s ‘Geraldine’ who would not-so-innocently shout, “The devil made me do it!”

That was comedy. But, the question is valid:  Can Satan make me do something?

According to the Bible, Satan doesn’t have that kind of power. His primary skills are in lies and deception which, in turn, lure us to the trap he’s set for us.

We can mistakenly give Satan too much credit for the mess in which we find ourselves. Sometimes, he had nothing to do with it. We (due to our flesh/sinful nature) successfully messed things up all by ourselves.

“Don’t excuse yourself by accusing Satan.” – Thomas Brooks

 

TRIVIA!

Here is the sublime Pleiades. This asterism is an open cluster of massive hot stars in the constellation Taurus.

Do you know which car company uses Pleiades in its logo?  (Hint: one of their cars is called Outback.)

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Apart from the payment Christ made on the cross, nobody has a chance of getting off death row. – Lee Strobel

And, this one is great…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

“Hospitality is making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.” – Steve Swartz.

And, one more…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Fool Proof – How to know when, and when not, to respond to a fool.

“I will not dignify your statement with a reply.”  Ever felt that way?  We all have.  Well, according to the Bible, sometimes that statement is spot-on, while other times a reply may be the better option.  But, how do you know which response is appropriate?  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 5.20.2021

THIS SUNDAY, May 23rd

  • Missionaries, Alan Ivey and his family, occupy one of our guest houses.  They will be sharing briefly in both worship services.
  • Sonshiner Choir Musical @ 5pm

 

MEMORIAL DAY SUNDAY HEADS UP

We were recently notified by the City of Lubbock that, due to the city joining the ERCOT electrical grid, the city will potentially experience power outages – for up to half an hour – on Sunday morning, May 30th.

As you know, just as with the threat of inclement weather, it could be BHBC experiences no power outage.  But, we’re not going to risk it.  The following schedule changes have been implemented for May 30th:

  • No Small Groups
  • One combined worship service at 10:45am

 

414 Evangelistic Events

  • May 26th; 6-8pm – Block Party in the BHBC parking lot

 

The question is not, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but rather, “Was there strong Bible learning?”

Teaching/Learning Tip of the Week: The Power of Story

***If you’re message/lesson is driven by stories, that’s never a good thing.  Stories don’t precipitate life-change.  Only the Word of God can do that.

“Faith comes from hearing the message,” Paul wrote, “and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

That said (as one of my grad-professors wrote), when a story can “help give meaning to the data,” use itJust like Jesus often did with his many parables.

Here’s a powerful example…

Francis Collins, is a genetic physicist and was Chairman of the Human Genome Project.  In his book, The Language of God, where he gives evidence of God’s existence through DNA, he tells a story to help his readers better grasp Jesus’ love for us.  Enjoy, nw

Once upon a time there was an old woman who used to meditate on the bank of the Ganges. One morning, finishing her meditation, she saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the strong current. As the scorpion was pulled closer, it got caught in roots that branched out far into the river. The scorpion struggled frantically to free itself but got more and more entangled. She immediately reached out to the drowning scorpion, which, as soon as she touched it, stung her. The old woman withdrew her hand but, having regained her balance, once again tried to save the creature. Every time she tried, however, the scorpion’s tail stung her so badly that her hands became bloody and her face distorted with pain. A passerby who saw the old woman struggling with the scorpion shouted, “What’s wrong with you, fool! Do you want to kill yourself to save that ugly thing?” Looking into the stranger’s eyes, she answered, “Because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting, why should I deny my own nature to save it?”

 

THERE’S POWER IN THE BLOOD

We’ve sung the hymns on this doctrine so many times it’s easy to forget the powerful truthon which it stands.  Next time you sing about the blood of the Lamb, keep this in mind…

Through Isaiah, God said,

“No amount of soap or lye can make you clean.  I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Compare that to this beloved quote by Charles Spurgeon:

“The moment that you begin to live by faith in his dear Son, there is not a sin left in God’s book against you.”

John recorded in his first letter and in Revelation,

…and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

[The children of God] triumphed over [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

 

HUMILIATION vs. ENCOURAGEMENT

I thought this was very interesting…

“Studies show we encode humiliation faster than encouragement… Believing in God’s love also involves conscious reflection to internalize it.” – Psychiatrist, Dr. Curt Thompson

Thompson observes,

It takes less than 3 seconds to feel shame.  It takes 30 to 90 seconds to receive a compliment.


As I consider this principle, I reconsider God’s command to “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Stay with me…

Perhaps part of “being still” is giving our minds the ‘pause’ it needs to know, to focus on, and receive the boundless love (a.k.a. ‘compliment’) God so desperately wants us to know.

 

CHRIST & THE OLD TESTAMENT

Unfortunately, most Christians have no clue about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.  The riches of the New Testament are best viewed in light of the Old.  This is precisely why Jesus, Paul and the other New Testament writers often appealed to the Old Testament scriptures.

Spurgeon, in his tome, Christ in the Old Testament, wrote,

The Old Testament was Christ’s Bible, and it is a Bible full of Christ.

This was one reason Jesus scolded the religious leaders:

You study the Scriptures (Old Testament) diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me. (emphasis mine)

This is precisely why Philip Yancey wrote his outstanding book on this topic, The Bible Jesus Read.

All this said,  contemplate the following quote  from Paul F. M. Zahl’s Grace in Practice:

“This point is crucial: [the Old Testament] law tells us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about ourselves. It holds the ‘mirror up to nature’ (William Shakespeare). But the law fails to convey the power to correct the maladies it diagnoses. The law is painful, like iodine on a cut, but another agent is required for healing to occur. That agent is grace [through the work of Christ on the Cross].”

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

In light of this passage from Numbers, the quote below by 19th century preacher, J.C. Ryle, takes on even stronger meaning.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Why Atheism Failed Me – Pt 2 of 3

I’ve recently updated my story of my return to my faith in Christ, dividing it up into a trilogy.  Since Part 1 is more of a synopsis, I submit to you Part 2, a more detailed account of why atheism failed me.  (Part 3 has become a small book.  As such, I am still editing.)

Pain and suffering are a part of life and, frankly, help serve as the No. 1 argument for atheism.  And for good reason.

So, when our world caves in around us – and we must, as Michelle told us that nightmarish day, ‘Today, we decide what we believe,’ what do we do?  Is it ok to doubt God?  You bet it is.  Even John the Baptist doubted.  God welcomes our doubts. He’s not afraid to be questioned.  Why?  Because, if you’re honest in your doubt, all roads lead back home.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick