The Navigator: 4.21.22

THIS SUNDAY, April 24th

  • High School Graduate Recognition – both worship services

 

EASTER & the NO. 1 ARGUMENT for ATHEISM

NOTE: Due to an unexpected cancer-removal-surgery for my father-in-law (he’s spent ten days at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock), much of my time last week was dedicated to taking care of the family, preventing me from being able to publish The Navigator.  What follows is what I had intended to include last week as we approached Easter Sunday.

Easter & the No. 1 Argument for Atheism

The Problem of Pain – how a God who claims to be good, all-powerful, and all-loving can permit evil and suffering – is the No. 1 roadblock to faith in Christ.

The ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus, stated,

“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked.”

More recently, in 2006, prominent atheist, Sam Harris, restated Epicurus’ words:

“If God exists, either He can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities, or He does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.”

To be brutally honest, I get it. I’ve lost my dad and youngest sister to addiction, and my son to suicide.

Yet,…

Contrary to the philosophies of Epicurus and Harris, the Bible tells us that God did care, and that God did do something – twenty centuries ago, on a Cross, just outside Jerusalem.

And, well – that changes everything.

In his book, Miracles, C.S. Lewis wrote,

“Christ has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so.”

**By the way, all worldviews are faced with their own version of “the problem of pain.”  But, Christianity is the only one that offers purpose and hope in our pain.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: CLARITY IN THE BASICS

On this penultimate evening of our series, we looked at one primary tenet of the doctrine of salvation:  Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

We can’t earn it.  Human effort is futile.  Works-based salvation is a back-breaking burden resulting in a lifetime of legalistic bondage.

Jesus said,

“This is the only work God wants from you:  Believe in the one he has sent…. The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.” – John 6:29, 63

Rather than post this past week’s lesson here, I want to share with you a brief video clip I used to conclude our session.

Alistair Begg, who is Scottish, is the senior pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church, a position he has held since 1983. In this brief clip, using the story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus, Begg says one of the most profound truths I’ve ever heard regarding biblical salvation. 

 

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

“What gives me most confidence that Jesus’ resurrection actually occurred is how the resurrection hypothesis is able to address the full scope of relevant historical facts in a manner that is far superior to the ability of any competing hypothesis to do the same. Stated differently, when I set aside faith and examine the data using strictly controlled historical method, the hypothesis that Jesus was raised stands head and shoulders above the rest. And that’s quite remarkable!” – Mike Licona, Ph.D., historian and apologist

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

If you thought, at first glance, this is a grainy photo of the night sky, you would be wrong.  It’s an extremely high-resolution picture of space – and the grains are actually trillions of stars.

Stretch the photo and it becomes even more mind-cramping.

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” – Psalm 147:4

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” – Corrie Ten Boom

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: How the Sun led me back to the Son

It was a small step – but a step nonetheless.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 4.7.2021

THIS SUNDAY, 4/10

  • The Lord’s Supper in both worship services.

 

MEN’S BREAKFAST – APRIL 10th; 8:15-9am

 

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING @ 6:30

  • Join us in the Worship Center as Sammy leads us in a Holy Week service.  This will go a long way to helping our people prepare their hearts for Easter Sunday on the 17th.

 

This week’s tip: “Put your phone down and take a look around.”

We’ve never been more connected.  And we’ve never been lonelier.  Friends today tend to be virtual rather than physical.  But the truth remains:  we need each other.

As you teach each week, always remind your class of the importance of looking up from their phone every now and then and taking inventory of what’s going on around them.  This is the only way we can be available and willing to help those around us who may be hurting.

Jesus once told a story about being available and willing to help our neighbor.  You can read it in Luke 10:25-37.

An expert in Old Testament Law was actually trying to trap Jesus with a question about salvation.  Of course, Jesus saw through the man’s scheme.  But, what I notice is this:  Rather than scorch the religious leader with a rebuke, Jesus begins a  conversation by kindly and calmly asking him questions, which eventually leads to a beloved – and convicting – story.

It’s an often-told story, with even many non-Christians familiar with the phrase, “good Samaritan.”

In short, a man is on a deserted road heading to his destination when he is ambushed by thugs who beat him severely, rob him, and leave him for dead.

Two church-leaders eventually walk by (each at a different time) and all but ignore the dying man.  Finally, a Samaritan sees him. Driven by compassion, he tends the man’s wounds, carries him to his donkey, sets him on it, and takes him to an inn where the man can rest and heal. Finally, he informs the inn keeper to charge the man’s bill to him.

Don’t miss this:

  • To the expert in Old Testament Law – the wounded man was a subject to be discussed.
  • To the thugs – the wounded man was someone to beat and rob.
  • To the religious leaders – the wounded man was a problem to be avoided.
  • To the inn keeper – the wounded man was a customer.
  • To the Samaritan – the wounded man was a human being to be loved and cared for, of great value and worth.
  • To Jesus – all of them were worth dying for.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

The Crucifixion – a Medical Account.

It’s graphic.  It’s real.  It happened.  It’s difficult to understand the power of the resurrection until we first understand the cost Christ paid.

 

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

One reason to believe we rarely consider is this:  Jesus dared his accusers to prove his claims to be wrong.  A social media post of mine this past week:

In John’s biography of Jesus he recorded many instances of people accusing Jesus of being a sinner or all the way to being demon-possessed.

In one such story Jesus confronted his accusers:

“When I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?  And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?”

In a number of places, Jesus intentionally challenged his listeners to test him. He welcomed those who wanted to question his claims and character (he still does) as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered.

Jesus’ challenge then – and now – exposes the two most frequent reasons why people refuse to believe in him: (1) they don’t accept his challenge to test him to begin with, or (2) they test him but are not willing to believe what they discover. 

The former bastion of atheism, British philosopher, Antony Flew, decided to take God’s challenge. Rather than enter his inquiry with bias, he honestly investigated the possibility that there could actually be a God.

What he discovered sent repercussions throughout the atheistic world.

“There is a God,” Flew found himself confessing. The evidence was indisputable.

In his book, There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his Mind, Flew writes,

“I must abide by Plato’s Socrates and follow the argument where it leads.”

The philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, said,

“[Christianity] is prepared to face the consequences of being proved false and say with Paul: If you find the body of Christ, the discussion is finished, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. It leaves absolutely no room for a romantic answer.”

The Almighty Christ is offering a kind, generous, and patient invitation to all who who’ve never placed their faith in him. “Examine me. Test me. What you discover will change your life.”

 

HIGH SCHOOL GRAD RECOGNITION – April 24th; both worship services

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

This is mind-blowing.
S5 0014+81 is the largest known supermassive black hole. Here is its size compared to our solar system (the tiny dot in the middle.)  To be clear – that tiny dot is not earth – it’s our entire Solar System.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Devil’s Delusion

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick