The Navigator: 6.10.2021

NOTE:  Due to out-of-town commitments, there will be no Navigator E-News the next two weeks.  Next Navigator will be published on July 8th.

THIS SUNDAY, 6/13

  • This Sunday, Sammy begins a summer series from the Psalms .  Can’t wait!
  • As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite chapter in the Bible is Luke 15.  But, my favorite book is the Psalms, having spent a considerable part of my adult life in these visceral lyrics. One of my seminary professors said, “A psalm is, by definition, mankind’s response to God’s activity in their life.” That’s why the Psalms cover the gamut of human emotion. The Psalms are intended to be sung, sometimes referred to as ‘Israel’s hymnbook.’ The Psalms are poetry. In his Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis, said, “If we have any taste for poetry we shall enjoy the Psalms.”  Join us as we mine the treasures of the Psalms.
  • Maps & Lists: continue to prayerfully consider your evangelistic/missional maps and lists.  Remember, before you talk to a person about Jesus, talk to Jesus about that person.
  • VBS – We’ve got 3 more Wed. evenings!  Keep praying.  Keep serving.
  • FYI – Larry Viaille’s 10:45 class will be combining with Tom Heath’s 10:45 class on 6/20 & 6/27 due to Tom being out.  They will meet in the Youth Room.

 

We’ve planned and had to reschedule this twice.  So, I’m hoping ‘third time’s a charm.’

The longer I serve along side you, the more grateful I become for your love for Christ, his Word, and his people.

**Please mark your calendar for Sunday evening, October 3rd; 6pm, in our FLC.  Spouses are invited. 

 

Our next workshop will be Sunday afternoon, August 15th; 4-5pm in Room 108.

  • Last time we looked at the Art of Welcoming and the first Law of the Learner.
  • This time, we’ll succinctly tackle the remaining Laws.
  • Additionally, I’ll be handing out to you resources I believe will further equip you for this assignment God has given you: to teach his Word and shepherd his sheep.
  • Lastly, I’ll provide details for our Fall emphasis as a church.  See ‘On the Horizon’ below.

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

Teaching/Learning Tip of the Week:  ‘Sabbath’

**Humor me as we get a little theology out of the way to provide context.

It’s an interesting hermeneutic.  Within the 10 Commandments, the only commandment that has taken on expanded nuance under the New Covenant is No. 4: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it (set it apart as) holy.

According to the Old Testament Law, the Sabbath was Saturday, which is why the followers of Jesus asked if they could take Jesus’ dead body and quickly place it in a tomb before the Sabbath began.  And, until Jesus rose on Sunday, Saturday was the day Jews assembled in the synagogues to “have church.” The Seventh Day Adventists still rigidly hold to Saturday being the Sabbath.

All the gospel writers record stories of the religious leaders being infuriated at Jesus’ approach to the Sabbath.  “How dare he ‘do stuff (even miracles) and live life as normal’ on the Sabbath!? We’ve got rules!!”  The religious leaders had made the Sabbath more like bondage, creating endless ‘addendums’, informing people what they could, and couldn’t do, on the Sabbath.

But, Jesus made it clear to the religious leaders that they had completely misinterpreted the 4th Commandment.  And, they were furious that he would dare challenge them, even setting himself up as God, claiming to be ‘Lord of the Sabbath.’

This is precisely why Paul, from prison, reminded his readers,

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

So, is the Sabbath a ‘day’ of the week?  Sunday,  being the day of the week we gather to worship corporately notwithstanding (because Jesus was raised on a Sunday), no – it isn’t.  Biblical sabbath is a lifestyle.  Sure, we must set aside time to allow our bodies and minds to refuel and recharge; and set aside time to worship Christ, allowing him to renew our minds But, biblical sabbath is more than that.  Much more.

Years ago, I read Mark Buchanan’s ‘The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.’  Buchanan observes,

“Most of us feel utterly ransacked.  We are waylaid by endless demands and stifling routines.  Even our vacations have a panicky, task-like edge to them.  We’ve forgotten the ancient wisdom of Sabbath, rooted in God’s own rhythm of work and rest. Sabbath restores our bent and withered parts.  The gift of Sabbath is essential to our full humanity and faith.  Knowing that, God made it a command.  We’ve neglected it anyhow.  We’ve lost the rest of God.”

Sabbath does not necessarily insinuate inactivity.  Personally, I typically walk around when I pray.  During times of leisure (which may even include work), we can still experience Sabbath, taking moments to focus on Christ and meditate upon his Word. (For a wonderful testimony to this truth, read Practicing the Presence of God by the 17th century, French monk, Brother LawrencePresently, the Kindle edition is available on Amazon for less than $3.)

So, this week’s teaching/learning tip is to ask God to restore ‘Sabbath’ in your own life.  The old adage is true:  “What’s in the well comes up in the bucket.”  Is your bucket empty?  Is your reservoir bone-dry?  Do you suffer from chronic exhaustion.  Rediscover Sabbath in your life – the rest of God.

 

ON THE HORIZON

On September 12th (the first Sunday after Labor Day), there will be no Sunday School.  Rather, we will all gather in the worship center at 9:15 to hear Jerry Joplin, and then at 10:45 to hear D.L. Lowrie.  You will hear about the rationale behind this event in the coming days.  I am confident you will be as excited as I am.

 

Pastoral staff searches never go as fast as we would like.  But, you never want to rush God.  That said, our Youth Pastor Search Team has been meeting and praying.  Please continue to lift them to Christ.  God has already chosen our next Youth Pastor.  Pray the team (and BHBC) would be good listeners, sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Purely naturalistic scientists won’t admit this, but modern science was founded by deeply committed Christian scientists.  (I happen to have just completed the chapter on this topic in Steven Meyer’s ‘The God Hypothesis’.)

I have read numerous scholars representing various scientific disciplines, as well as follow a few of them on Twitter.  One person I follow is, former atheist, Sarah Salviander, Ph.D. in Astrophysics.  She writes,

“Contrary to modern mythology, the rise of modern science was not inevitable. If it was merely part of the natural progression of civilization, we would’ve had it thousands of years ago. But it arose rather late in the game, in the 17th century, in Christian Europe.”

What does Dr. Salviander mean here?  Meyer, mentioned above, notes,

“It was during the lives of philosophers and scientists such as Bacon, DeCartes, Kepler, Boyle, and Newton that the term ‘laws of nature’ began to emerge.”  (Of course, Aquinas had affirmed this centuries before.)

Salviander makes the point that there have been intelligent people for millennia.  Why was it not until just a few centuries ago that science gained traction and made such advances?  Because, all of a sudden, scientists collectively realized there were ‘laws of nature,’ and, logically, this suggests a ‘law maker,’ which buoyed their curiosity. It was this common pursuit of investigating these laws that catapulted scientific discovery into the modern age.

Salviander concludes,

“Belief that the universe was designed and created by a transcendent intelligence, that nature is thus orderly, lawful, and knowable, is not only not contradictory to science, it was necessary to give rise to science in the first place.”

For those of you who are interested, Dr. Salviander has provided one of her lectures titled, The Christian Foundation of Modern Science.  You can read her lecture  here. (Just advance the slides.)

 

IN THE NEWS: from the L.A. Times…

Boy, can you imagine the poor guy who has to follow Rick Warren as pastor?  The Warren’s have been used of God is so many ways.  And the story of how he ended up in southern California decades ago is powerful. Read the article here.

 

ANYONE NEED A STOOL?

I have an extra stool for anyone who might like one for their classroom.  Just let me know!

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

And,…

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise” (Prov 13:20). Who are you reading, listening to, or investing time with this week?” – Richard Ross 

Since I’ll be out the next two weeks, how about one more?

There’s more gossip passed around under the guise of ‘prayer requests’ than anything I know. – Jimmy Draper

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Oh man, this made me laugh out loud…

And, this one…

Oh why not?  Here’s one more…

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Imagination of God

Have you ever considered our imagination being a part of being created in God’s image?  I hadn’t until just a few years ago.  It was a paradigm shift.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 6.3.2021

THIS SUNDAY, June 6th

  • Observance of the Lord’s Supper in both services.
  • Deacons Meeting; 3pm

 

Congrats to Dana Kluzek and her team! Wed evening’s inaugural event was a resounding success.

As Dana and I were visiting today about the event we agreed that, by far, the best advertisement is ‘word of mouth.’  I would be shocked if our attendance didn’t increase next Wed evening as word gets around about how wonderful this is.

  • When? Each Wed. evening in June.; 6-8pm
  • 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.

 

23 adults & teens are headed for Lone Tree Ranch just outside Capitan, NM, next Monday, the 7th.  It was at youth camp where I committed my life to vocational ministry.  There’s just something about separating from the chaos of life, putting life on ‘pause’ and being able to really listen to Christ’s ‘still, small voice.’

Pray for safety and a mighty moving of the Holy Spirit.  Below is a photo of Lone Tree’s worship center against a breathtaking sunset and mountains in the distance.  Gorgeous place.  I took many students there over the years and saw God do amazing things.

 

 

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

Teaching/Learning Tip of the Week:  ‘Rules of Engaging Guests’

Sure, there are some who prefer anonymity when it comes to visiting a church.  But there are many who would love to just be noticed and assured they are welcome and that BHBC is a safe place to be themselves.

We covered ‘The Art of Welcoming’ a few weeks ago in our Sunday afternoon workshop (you can review it here).  As I mentioned, most churches don’t intentionally ignore guests.  We’ve just forgotten what it felt like to be a guest i.e. isolated, insecure, confused as to where things are located, etc.  Add to this the supernatural truth that ‘the last place Satan wants a person to feel comfortable is at church’ and it’s easy to see why many people choose not to return to a church after they’ve visited.

Welcoming people must be intentional, deliberate and strategic.  (I can promise you that Satan is certainly being intentional, deliberate and strategic on his end.)  But we’ve got Christ on our side.  And that makes all the difference.

After seeing the good, the bad and the ugly for over 38 years, there’s a great deal I could offer here.  But, for brevity, please just keep in mind that when the Great Shepherd leads someone to our flock He’s expecting us, as under-shepherds, to take care of them.  This means noticing them, engaging with them, asking them questions, etc.  I am not referring to a level of ‘social suffocation’ here.  As my workshop to which I referred earlier states, there is an ‘art’ to effective welcoming.

Most churches don’t welcome well.  May this never be said of BHBC.

All of that said, this topic was once again brought to mind when I saw the following ‘rules of engagement’ on my Twitter feed.  Give theses ‘rules’ some thought.

  1. An alone person in our gathering is an emergency.
  2. Friends can wait.
  3. Introduce a newcomer to someone else.

By the way, the best and most fruitful way to teach your class to be great ‘welcomers’ is to lead by example.  You teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are. nw

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?  Part 2 of 2

***A follow-up to last week’s Part 1.

Consider the following statements.  How would you respond?

I am an atheist.  I am not an atheist because it’s cool. I am not an atheist because of religious extremism or oppression in some depraved corners of the world.  I’m not an atheist because I believe science can disprove God. 

I’m an atheist because of one simple fact: the burden of proof lies on religion.  If you propose the existence of something you must follow the scientific method in your defense of its existence.  Otherwise, I have no reason to listen to you.

The Bible is clear:  “be ready to give a logical defense (apologia) of your faith, BUT do this *with gentleness and respect*.” (1 Peter 3:15)

God never meant this as a suggestion.  Rather, it is a command. (Which is one of the reasons I continue to, hopefully, arm you with tools that help you to have intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.) And remember, our goal is never to ‘win an argument’, but to win a friend, regardless of if we end up agreeing, or not.

How would I respond?  With something like this: (obviously, I wouldn’t ‘talk over’ my friend.  They would be allowed to interrupt anytime and ask anything they wanted.)

“My friend, clearly you are a critical thinker.  As such, I can tell you have given a great deal of thought about your chosen worldview.  I respect you for that deeply.  Would you permit me to respond to your statement?  (If all they want to do is argue and make condescending remarks, just thank them for their time and excuse yourself, as they have no interest in hearing your opinion.  But, let’s assume they kindly make this allowance, and are willing to have civil discourse.)

“I see you are respectful of science.  I’m thrilled to hear that because I am, as well.  So, let’s take your thesis to its logical end.

“Let me ask you a question?  Can science *prove* love exists?  Hate? Jealousy? How about objective beauty?  Morality? Of course not. We observe these emotions through evidence by means of behavior. So, would you agree there are elements of life and existence that are beyond the purview of science?  I think every honest scientist would agree science can’t prove everything.  The very statement, ‘Only science can discover truth’ is self-defeating since this assertion cannot be proven scientifically.

“Hence, respectfully, and logically, your statement, ‘The burden of proof lies on religion…[using] the scientific method’ is clearly flawed.

“So, we are directed not to *proof*, but rather to *evidence*.  From the laboratory to the court room, if you will.  Now, this is an interesting intellectual intersection.  But, even Plato’s Socrates affirmed mankind “must follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

“So, it comes down not to either side shouldering a burden of proof, but both sides carefully and honestly considering the evidence for their chosen worldview.

“Sure, there are scientists such as biologist, Richard Dawkins (who gets a lot of press) who describes the universe as ‘pitiful indifference.’  And anyone certainly has the freedom to ascribe to that opinion.  But, in my opinion, the more science discovers about the beginning and fine-tuning of the universe, the more it sounds (to me) like the beginning of the book of Genesis and passages like the one we find in Colossians 1:15-17.  Further, I agree with former atheist and Oxford scientist, Alister McGrath, who said, in his days of atheism, he discovered Christianity simply made better sense of reality.

“Of course, neither of us will find out what’s true until the nanosecond after we die.  But, based on what I consider overwhelming evidence from cosmology, teleology, biology and the historical reliability of the New Testament, I am, as Martin Luther once confessed, “captive to the Word of God” due to my convictions based on the evidence produced by the scientific disciplines to which I just referred. Frankly, I’ve tried to un-do the evidence for God’s existence, but failed.  Miserably.

“If I’m wrong, I lose nothing.  But, according to the Bible, if you’re wrong, you lose everything.  I don’t say this to scare you, but to let you know what the Bible says about ‘life after life’, and give you something to, perhaps, think about.

“Using philosophical reductionism – reducing our worldviews down to their smallest/quantum arguments for being true – you and I both hold to ‘faith worldviews.’  You can’t *prove* God doesn’t exist.  And I can’t *prove* God does exist.  Any proclamation on this topic from science – in either direction – ceases to be a statement from science (the physical/natural) and quickly becomes a statement from philosophy and/or theology (the metaphysical/supernatural).

“Along with many former ardent atheists, as well as Ph.D’s presently teaching everywhere from MIT to Harvard to Stanford, I’m placing my faith ‘where I believe the evidence clearly leads.’

As former atheist and Yale Law School grad, Lee Strobel, once wrote, “To continue in atheism, I would need to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason. I simply didn’t have that much faith.”

“Now, if you have time, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Or, we can pick up our convo another time.  But first, let’s get refills of our robust, warm beverages.  Also, I’d love to know about your family and what you like to do in your spare time.  Ever heard of Elvis Presley?…”

 

WHAT DO THE ‘OTHER GUYS’ HAVE TO SAY?

You’ve, no doubt, heard (whether you’ve wanted to, or not) of the leaders of contemporary atheistic thought.  They spend their time assaulting any and all claims of the Christian faith – and have sold millions of books doing so.  They’re loud and, as such, receive the lion’s share of media attention.  But, what do the other guys have to say?  Are there Christian scholars of the various disciplines of science who would disagree with the militant atheists?  Oh, there are many.

For instance,…

The neo-atheists, so belligerently hostile to the Christian faith, along with ‘internet atheists’ whose arguments are embarrassingly fallacious, can be quite intimidating to the modern-day Christians since, rather than having interest in civil and respectful discourse, they enjoy assaulting anyone’s character brave enough to offer an opposing opinion.

As these ‘evangelists for atheism’ bombard the air waves with a message that equates the Christian faith with being a village idiot, it’s encouraging for Christians to know there are thousands of scholars, both now and throughout history, who have, for good reason, chosen to place their faith in Christ.  They applied their critical thinking to the evidence for and against theism.  Then, they bravely considered the words of Plato’s Socrates: “follow the evidence wherever it leads.”  The evidence led every one of them to placing their faith in the risen Christ.

Here is a 6-minute video containing brief comments from all of the scholars listed above.  You can view the video clip here.

As an added bonus, below is 7-minute video about how God used cosmology to bring once-hostile-atheist, Lee Strobel, to faith in Christ.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

I posted what follows on social media recently.  To help provide context to the quote I offered the following:

I am not a professional counselor. What I can do is offer ‘pastoral/biblical counseling.’ And Christ has given me many opportunities to do so.

During every counseling session I, at some point, make the statement,

“I am here to remind you of what is true.’  Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’   Further, His truth can not only set us free eternally, but psychologically and emotionally, as well.’” (This is never intended to invalidate those who require professional counseling and/or medication.)

When Jesus was given the full force of all the devil could throw at him in the temptation narratives, what did Jesus respond with? Biblical truth. And the devil, having no defense against it, ran.

So, that’s why the following quote by author/counselor, Neil Anderson, is so very powerful:

“Freedom from spiritual conflicts and bondage (lying, sexual sin, gossip, unforgiveness, anger, greed, etc.) is not a power encounter; it’s a truth encounter. Satan is a deceiver, and he will work undercover at all costs. But the truth of God’s Word exposes him and his lies. His demons are like little cockroaches that scurry for the shadows when the Light comes on. Satan’s power is in the lie, and when his lie is exposed by the truth, his plans are foiled.” – Neil Anderson; The Bondage Breaker

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

To borrow a phrase from Jeff Foxworthy, “I am American by birth.  I am southern by the grace of God.”  (Can i get a witness?)

And, a bonus…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Are we bodies or souls?

Those with a biblical worldview will find this an easy question to answer.  But, what would you offer someone who is honestly asking this question when mere Bible verses aren’t going to initially help?  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick