The Navigator: 12.16.21

**NOTE:  You cannot know how much I love and appreciate you.  Michelle and I wish you the merriest of Christmases.  This is the last publication of The Navigator of 2021.  Love to you all, St. Nick

 

THIS SUNDAY, 12/19

  • Sammy concludes his series of highlighting timeless truths found in Jesus’ “family tree.”

 

  • 12/19 – Regular schedule
  • 12/23-24 – Offices closed; **Office hours 12/20-12/31 will be 9-Noon.
  • 12/24 – Christmas Eve Service; 5pm
  • 12/26 – Choose between in-person or online.  For those desiring to gather in person, join us in the FLC at 10:30.  The online service will be available on our web site on 12/26 as well as the days to follow.
  • 1/2 – 10:30 – Combined Worship; NO SUNDAY SCHOOL
  • 1/9 – Return to regular schedule
  • 1/12 – Mid-week classes/opportunities for learning resume at 6:30pm

 

BETHLEHEM HAPPENED FOR ONE REASON: CALVARY

From Philip Yancey’s award-winning book, The Jesus I Never Knew:

“When the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci went to China in the sixteenth century, he brought along samples of religious art to illustrate the Christian story for people who had never heard it.

The Chinese readily adopted portraits of the Virgin Mary holding her child, but when he produced paintings of the crucifixion and tried to explain that the God-child had grown up only to be executed, the audience reacted with revulsion and horror. They much preferred the Virgin and insisted on worshiping her rather than the crucified God.

As I thumb once more through my stack of Christmas cards (with front covers depicting calm, peaceful manger scenes), I realize that we in Christian countries do much the same thing.

We observe a mellow, domesticated holiday purged of any hint of scandal. Above all, we purge from it any reminder of how the story that began at Bethlehem turned out at Calvary.” [end quote]

For the King, nw

 

**Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.

I will never ask you to do something I am not already doing.  That includes engaging in intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.

Recently, I posted on social media a post titled “For those who don’t know how, or are scared, to share your faith.”  It was widely read and shared on social media numerous times.  I was soon private-messaged by a person who told me she had shared it on her social media and that her sister, an agnostic, had replied to the post with a good deal of push-back.

The agnostic, in her mid-30’s, was extremely kind.  And, she had some common – yet extremely tough – questions and points.  The person who private-messaged me, a Christian, asked if I could help her respond to her sister’s questions.  I told her I’d be happy to do so.

I was promptly sent screen-shots of her sister’s arguments against the Christian faith.  Her agnostic sister is extremely intelligent and, clearly, a mature thinker.

Before I offered my response – I prayed.  A lot. 

Then, I broke her arguments down into fifteen questions/points and responded to each one individually.

When I was done I had written over 40 pages – a short book.

Dialoguing with an agnostic is, in my opinion, more difficult than with an atheist. They are indifferent and ambivalent toward religion – and have very good reasons for being so.  It’s not that they don’t want to believe – it’s that they just don’t care to.

But, one common denominator that exists when visiting with a skeptic of any kind is the challenge of sharing the truths of the Bible – without using the Bible.

And that’s precisely why I’m estimating 85% of what I wrote was based on philosophy/logic while the remaining 15% was biblical/theological in nature which supported the philosophy/logic.

It was critical that I be able to appeal to her sense of logic and reason.  For example: where did objective morality come from? (why is murder universally wrong and kindness universally good?); consciousness vs. humans beings no more than atoms, neurons, and the like; why it’s reasonable – apart from what the Bible says – to consider there being an afterlife; and so on, and so on.

I had been sending each individual response to my Christian friend who’d initially messaged me.  What I didn’t know is that she had then been forwarding my responses to her agnostic sister who lives in another part of the country.  Then – I was told her sister was reading my responses and was now very interested in what I had to say, even open to talking about it.

What happened next was full of power from the Holy Spirit.

I was encouraged by my Christian friend to connect with her sister personally.  I did (sort of like removing the middle-man.)  A conversation began.  We began getting to know one another.  What follows is what my new agnostic friend wrote to me just a couple of days ago:

“At this point I suppose I’m ok with taking my chances of ending up in hell. Or! Maybe someone will finally convince me that Jesus is my savior and I’ll be good to go.  Thus, my sister’s introduction to you!”

Tears filled my eyes as I read that last sentence.

Only God can orchestrate these encounters.

His activity in our lives is yet another “reason to believe.”

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

The One True King

By a single touch, Jesus healed. By a single word, demons fled. By a single event of torture, death, and resurrection, we are saved.

That’s the baby in that manger.

And,…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

And, a couple of bonuses…

A little known fact: Before the crowbar was invented, most crows drank at home.

My doctor asked if any of my family members suffered from mental illness.  I said, “No, they all seem to enjoy it.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  Who were the mysterious Magi?

Read the blog here.

Merry Christmas, St. Nick