The Navigator: 5.26.22

THIS SUNDAY, May 29th – Memorial Day Weekend

  • Regular schedule
  • If you’re traveling, have a wonderful, safe holiday.
  • Offices are close Monday.

 

Every Wednesday evening during the month of June.

  • 6pm – meal
  • 6:30 – VBS begins
  • If you would like to get involved with helping, contact Dana Kluzek.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

Thank you, David Lewallen!  You were the only one who shared a response to the “What would you say?” in last week’s Navigator.  You win a free copy of my latest book. (I’ve not finished writing my book yet.  You’ll get it when I do.) 🙂

If any of you would still like to comment just shoot me an email, text, or let’s connect over a warm, robust beverage.

 

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

 

PHOTO of MONDAY EVENING’S TORNADO JUST WEST OF LUBBOCK

This monster was photographed just south of Morton, TX.

It makes me think of the story of Job who rightly wanted his day in court with God.  He cried out, in essence, “God! I want to talk to you!”

Then, God showed up.

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind…”

The Hebrew word for “whirlwind” is nothing like a West Texas whirlwind we commonly see out in the middle of a cotton field.  The word used in Job 38:1 means “tempest, or storm.”  God’s words that follow are terrifying.

I imagine that “whirlwind” looking more like this.

 

THE VOICE of GOD

Photo from this past Monday night’s storm via Twitter.

“The God of glory thunders…the voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.” – Psalm 29:3-7

 

EVERY YOUTH PASTOR, COLLEGE PASTOR & PARENT – READ THIS

I share this with you because we all know someone suffering from some form of mental illness.  It could be the person you see in the mirror each morning.  From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Three undergraduate students and one medical resident died of suicide at St. Louis University this school year, the university confirmed.”

Read the article here.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

AR3014 is one of the largest sunspots in years. Stretching more than 78,000 miles from end to end, that is almost TEN TIMES our planet diameter.

Note in the pic here the size of earth at the bottom right in contrast to the size of this single sun spot.

When we read that God became small (became human flesh), this gives us some real perspective.  The one who spoke our sun into existence took the form of a tiny baby on our tiny planet.  Why?  Because, in order to save man, he had to become one.  Amazing.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

Did Jesus Exist?  (You might be surprised at how many believe he didn’t.)

The following quote is the response Bart Ehrman gives to that question.  What you should know is that Ehrman describes himself as “agnostic with atheistic leanings.” But, he’s also Professor of Religious Studies at UNC, Chapel Hill.

“Every week I receive two or three emails asking me whether Jesus existed as a human being… The reality is that whatever else you may think about Jesus, he certainly did exist… The view that Jesus existed is held by virtually every expert on the planet.”

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: Sexual Abuse & the Southern Baptist Convention

Hopefully, this week’s blog will help bring clarity to what the Guidepost Solution Report means for Southern Baptists.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 5.19.22

 

THIS SUNDAY, May 22nd

  • Special guest speaker!  Former Hindu priest.  Both worship services. You don’t want to miss his story of what Christ has done, and is doing, in his life.

 

Where?  Nat Williams Elementary, 4812 58th St.

When?  May 25th; begins at 6:30pm

How can you help?  We need help for “set up” and “tear down.”  Please pass this along to your class.  Then, contact either myself or Dana Kluzek.

 

Every Wednesday evening during the month of June.

  • 6pm – meal
  • 6:30 – VBS begins

 

This week’s tip:  Perspective

We tend to be identified by what we do (our vocation) as well as what we’ve done (good and bad).

Travel with me to first century Jerusalem, the temple courts.  People are everywhere fulfilling duties, visiting, and such.

All of a sudden, off to the side, there is an uproar.  People yelling.  A woman crying.

You know the story.   John records it in his gospel, 8:1-11.

A woman caught in the very act of adultery is thrown down before Jesus.  This was mere drama used to attempt to trap Jesus into misusing the Law.  Nonetheless, a woman was involved who is at this moment being shamed in front of everyone in the temple courts.

There are multiple biblical truths gathered from this story.  Let’s look at just one.

No doubt, she had been called everything from a “woman of the night” to the more pejorative “whore.”  This is who she was.  It’s who she had come to believe she was.

It’s who she was in her eyes – not Jesus’.

After ruining the religious leaders’ “execution party,” Jesus looked into her eyes and said tenderly, “Woman…,” reminding her of who she truly is: a human being, a person created in his image, of infinite worth and value.

John Maxwell once said,

“See your people as they could be, not as they are.”

Are there people in your class who are struggling with their identity?  Be Jesus to them.

It’s all about perspective.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

One of the books I’m presently reading is Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture, by Natasha Crain.  Crain is erudite, articulate, and persuasive.

Consider the following.  She writes,

Popular comedian Ricky Gervais once wrote a piece featured in The Wall Street Journal titled “Why I’m an Atheist.”

Gervais began:

  • Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary… I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.

Gervais went on to explain why he’s chosen “science over God”:

  • Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence— evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded.

He then described how he challenges religious people:

  • Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities. So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2869.

[end excerpt]

Here you have a person precious in the sight of God, Ricky Gervais.  Clearly, he’s smart.  But also clearly, his logic has holes in it.

He has absolutely no regard for the Bible, much less the Christian faith, so throwing scripture at him will not work.   How do you begin to engage with Gervais?  I know how I would respond.  But, I would like to hear how you might respond.  Give his comments some thought, pray through it, do some study – and then let me know.

 

DATES for THIS SUMMER & FALL

  • Every Wed. evening in June: Family VBS
  • June 12 & Aug 7 – church-wide events at Sun & Fun
  • July 11 – Sr. Adult Luncheon
  • Aug 17 – Wed Evening Meal & Classes resume
  • Sep 30-Oct 2 – Student Dnow
  • Oct 26 – Fall Fest

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

Consequences are bound to the choices you make. You can have your choice, but you cannot choose your consequence.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

I just got pulled over by a cop.  He asked me if I had a police record.  Apparently “Roxanne” is not the answer he wanted to hear.

And,…

Actual Analogies used by High School Students in English Essays:

  1. When she tried to sing, it sounded like a walrus giving birth to farm equipment.
  2. Her eye twinkled, like the mustache of a man with a cold.
  3. She was like a magnet: attractive from the back, repulsive from the front.
  4. The ballerina rose gracefully on point, and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  5. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room temperature Canadian beef.

One more?  Why not?

For all my fellow Princess Bride fans…

 

SOUL FOOD:  When Your Light Burns Out

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 5.12.22

THIS SUNDAY, 5/15

  • Baby dedications in both services

 

Where?  Nat Williams Elementary, 4812 58th St.

When?  May 25th; begins at 6:30pm

How can you help?  We need help for “set up” and “tear down.”  Please pass this along to your class.  Then, contact either myself or Dana Kluzek.

 

Every Wednesday evening during the month of June.

  • 6pm – meal
  • 6:30 – VBS begins

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

Antares

Antares is actually two stars orbiting each other. They’re so close together you can’t tell them apart without a telescope.

 

SPEAKING of the COSMOS

Being a deeply critical thinker (which is sometimes a curse), I am always asking questions and analyzing arguments and opinions.

In way of example, I continue to search for a single scientific discovery that calls scripture into question, or contradicts scripture altogether.  Alas, my efforts have produced no such discovery.  And I am glad for this, for it strengthens, both, my faith in Christ, and my credibility when visiting with skeptics.

Astrophysicist and former atheist, Sarah Salviander, observes,

“There is nothing in well-tested science that is incompatible with God.”

I would invite you to read the article linked here for you titled, “Mysterious invisible walls may have been discovered in outer space”.

The Bible tells us,

“God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” – Job 26:7

It’s no coincidence scientists have discovered “invisible walls,” and God uses words with Job like “empty space” and “nothing.”

As Rich Mullins once sang, “Our God is an awesome God.”

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“To fruitfully discuss suffering…, there must be a given measure of thorns in our own flesh.” – One of my MAA classmates, Daniel Ray; on how our own experienced pain lends authority when we must discuss “the mystery of pain” with someone who is hurting.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

  • I did some financial planning and it looks like I can retire at 62 and live comfortably for eleven minutes.
  • Whoever wrote ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning’ never took their kids to church on a regular basis. – Tim Hawkins

 

SOUL FOOD: When You Mix Church with Politics

This one definitely got some traction on social media.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 5.5.22

THIS SUNDAY, May 8th

 

This week’s tip: Always be ready to listen to those with hard questions about the Christian faith.

In his essay, Addressing the Exodus of Young People from the Church, Samuel Bodnar includes Isabella’s story:

“She tried seeking answers from her parents, her youth group leader, even her pastor. Nobody answered her objections to the Bible….So she left the faith. She was done.”

Be quick to welcome all doubts and questions.  If you don’t know the answer, find someone who does.  More than anything, make certain the one seeking answers feels validated and respected.

 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING to JACK DANIELS

This may be the best exposition of Ephesians 5:18 I’ve ever heard.

“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.” – Eph 5:18, Amplified

Only 4 minutes long.  At the 3:30 mark, all heaven breaks loose.

It’s been viewed over a million times on Facebook.

You’ll be dancing by the time it’s over.  I was.

 

FOR the TIRED, WEARY, and BURDENED

I heard a line in a movie once: “I went to bed on top of the world; today, the world’s on top of me.”

For those who feel as though you’re carrying the weight of the world.

Remember what is true…

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble… Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 9:9; 16:8

 

DATES for THIS SUMMER & FALL

  • Every Wed. evening in June: Family VBS
  • June 12 & Aug 7 – church-wide events at Sun & Fun
  • July 11 – Sr. Adult Luncheon
  • Aug 17 – Wed Evening Meal & Classes resume
  • Sep 30-Oct 2 – Student Dnow
  • Oct 26 – Fall Fest

 

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

I’ve been saved.  I’ve been redeemed by the Cross of Christ.  But what does that mean for me, exactly, as I live life each and every day?

Below is a six-minute excerpt from my final class of the semester.  As I say in my introduction, one of the reasons for the weakness of faith in many Christians is that they simply don’t know who they are in Christ Jesus.  Satan would like to keep it that way.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

Hubble captured over 5000 galaxies in this extreme deep space image, some as old as 13 billion years and each one contains billions of stars. But what really explodes my head is:  this frame represents only one 32-millionth of the whole sky!

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word.” – Oswald Chambers

“At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” – Is 60:22

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

  • “I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.”
  • “Some days, the best thing about my job is that my chair spins around.”
  • “I was in Florida and I saw a bumper sticker on a parked car that read, ‘I miss the Bronx.’ So I broke their window, stole their stereo, and left a note that read, ‘I hope this helps.'”
  • “My stomach is ‘Flat.’  The ‘L’ is just silent.”

 

SOUL FOOD: Job’s Friends

There is a ministry I call “the ministry of presence.”

For the first seven days, the “ministry of presence” is what Job’s friends lovingly provided.  They wept, hurt, and just sat with their friend who had just experienced unspeakable devastation.

Then,…they started talking, and everything went downhill from there.

I saw the following on Twitter this past week:

Job’s friends were at their best when they were silent and simply sitting with him in his suffering.

They were at their worst when they tried to diagnose and preach Job’s suffering away.

Which kind of friend will you be today?

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick