The Navigator: 3.12.22

***TIME CHANGE THIS WEEKEND

***There will be no Navigator E-New next week due to Spring Break.

THIS SUNDAY

  • Sammy is teaching on the topic of forgiveness.  It will be powerful.  Should you be traveling, please check the message out online.

 

This week’s tip: Ask questions that help your class learn from one another.

“Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.” ARISTOTLE, Metaphysics, II, (III), i. – Quoted in C.S. Lewis’ book, Miracles.

Asking questions immediately draws your listeners into the lesson.  It can also break up the monotony of the lecture format.  As you prepare each week, consider creating questions related to your topic that will get your listeners thinking.  Perhaps even play the devil’s advocate to help them defend their statements.  This will help equip them to have intelligent dialogue in the marketplace where the Christian faith is concerned.

 

MID-WEEK ACTIVITIES CANCELLED NEXT WEEK

Due to so many out for Spring Break, all Wednesday Evening activities are cancelled for next week.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

A galactic head-on collision.

“A spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies fueled the unusual triangular-shaped star-birthing frenzy, as captured in a new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope… Astronomers suggest that the galaxies passed through each other, igniting the uniquely shaped star-formation firestorm…”

Read more about this event in this article from Smithsonian.  And this article from NASA.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

Satan & Demons  (I’m thrilled to finally be done with hell, satan & demons.)

Watch the session here.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Dare to follow the wild, untamable Lion of Judah.

“Life without some sense of urgency – a life that is safe, incubated, and overprotected – is not worth living.” – David Kinnaman 

And,…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

These are funny (but also painful)…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Open War

While war rages on planet earth, another war rages in the unseen realm.  We’re in a fight whether we want to admit it or not. Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 3.4.22

THIS SUNDAY, 3/6

  • Sammy continues his sermon series on relationships.
  • Our Special Friends Ministry will lead in both worship services!
  • 6pm – Prayer Service – Worship Center

 

NEXT SUNDAY, 3/13

Don’t forget to…

 

This week’s tip: truth, at all costs

I’ve seen it, sadly, often in churches.  It goes like this:

“Let’s just move on – anything to keep the peace.”

Then, for those who see a problem with suppressing the truth are labeled “trouble makers.”  Frankly, the ones bringing certain trouble are the former, not the latter.

Never – ever – reach for unity at the expense of truth. Should you ever experience a controversy in your class, always be courageous enough to expose the truth regardless of whom it may offend, or whom it may exposeUnity – at the expense of truth – is not unity.  Rather, it’s uniformity – a far cry from biblical unity.

Paul asked the Galatians,

“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

I’ve witnessed more than one church suppress the truth to maintain unity i.e. sweeping the truth under the proverbial rug to “keep the peace.” It never ends well.  The quote below from John MacArthur is spot-on.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

Hell

Since the Enlightenment – and especially the last 50 years – there has been a massive effort to dismiss that what the Bible calls “Hell” either (1) doesn’t exist, or (2) isn’t so bad.

To think lightly of Hell is to think lightly of the Cross.

Google “hell” and you’ll find any description you want from “experts.”  But, there’s only one authoritative source: the Bible.  Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about Hell.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

 A Galactic Oddball

The dwarf galaxy NGC 1705 featured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope lies in the southern constellation Pictor, approximately 17 million light-years from Earth. NGC 1705 is a cosmic oddball – it is small, irregularly shaped, and has recently undergone a spate of star formation known as a starburst.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

And a bonus…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Jesus “Co-Suffers” With Us

As God’s children, we never hurt alone. A powerful truth from God’s Word.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

The Navigator: 2.24.22

THIS SUNDAY, 2/27

  • Baptism & Baby Dedication in the 9:15 service!
  • Regular schedule
  • Coming Up on 3/6
    • The Friends of God will present a drama in both worship services.
    • Another baptism!
    • Church-wide prayer service at 5pm

 

This week’s tip:  pray for your sheep

‘Far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.’ – 1 Samuel 12:23

 

THANK YOU, ATHEIST FORUM…

…I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: CLARITY IN THE BASICS – Heaven

“When we all get to heaven – what a day of rejoicing that will be…”

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC OF THE WEEK

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1

The Butterfly Nebula

The Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302. This is the remnant of a dying star, located 3,400 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

I include the first one just in case  you might know someone who needs to hear it.

Sometimes God will end a relationship for your protection. Stop chasing after the person he’s trying to save you from.

And this powerful quote which serves as one of the arguments for the historical reliability of the Gospels.  No “ancient legend” follows this pattern…

Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God. – Bruce L Shelley

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

FUN FACT: Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend actually thinking.

And a bonus.  Saw this on social media. Felt like I was reading about myself.

Things I’m good at:

  • Forgetting someone’s name 10 seconds after they tell me.
  • Buying produce…and throwing it away two weeks later.
  • Digging through the trash for the food box I just tossed, because I already forgot the directions.
  • Making plans.  And then immediately regretting making plans.
  • Leaving laundry in the dryer until the clothes wrinkle.  Then turning on the dryer to de-wrinkle.  Then forgetting it again.
  • Calculating how much sleep I’ll get if I can just “fall asleep right now.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Dark Age Myth

During my grad studies we read quite a bit of medieval literature – from Dante to Aquinas to Beowulf.   While most people sadly – and ignorantly – see this 1000-year-period of history as backward, simple-minded and uneducated, quite the opposite is actually true.  Read the blog here.

The Navigator: 2.17.22

 

THIS SUNDAY, 2/20

  • The Lord’s Supper
  • Sammy will be spending time helping you get to know each of the men who sat around that table in the Upper Room that foreboding night.  I am looking forward to this.  See next article…

 

  • Permit me to whet your appetite for Sunday…
  • I’ve lent out my well-worn copy of John MacArthur’s, Twelve Ordinary Men, more times than I can count.   As always, MacArthur is studied, researched and responsible as he attempts to help the reader get to know these very ordinary, very diverse men.  Trust me – “Match.com” would’ve never put them together on the same team.
  • A “role call,” of sorts, of the inner-twelve disciples’ names can be found in the gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke, as well as recorded by Luke in Acts 1:13 (Judas Iscariot is missing from the list in Acts since he was, by that time, dead.  He would be replaced by Matthias.)
  • As you know, there is much written by the biographical/gospel writers about Simon Peter, the brothers – James and John, and the betrayer, Judas Iscariot.  Some is known about Thomas.  And a little is known about Peter’s brother, Andrew, as well as about Philip and Nathanael.
  • Speaking of Nathanael – there’s the confusion that arises from the names, themselves.  Nathanael – the “can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  Nathanael – is not mentioned in any of the lists I just mentioned, which has led scholars to conclude that Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same man.  Then, the fun really starts with the disciple “Thaddaeus,” who is also “Lebbaeus” and “Judas, son of James.”  His only recorded words are “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
    • Of course, this begs the question, “Why would the translators write different names for the same person?”  Very good question.  The answer is because modern translations and interpreters follow earlier Greek manuscripts that read simply “Thaddaeus.”
  • All of this said, the gospel writers provide us with enough information about some of the disciples to at least help us to “get to know them” a little bit.  What we do know about all of them is:
    • All twelve were Jewish, which brings its own characteristics and nuances.
    • Being Jewish, we know they were all, on some level, racist (James and John wanted Jesus to barbecue the Samaritans.)
    • We know Jesus didn’t choose a single disciple from the “Bible colleges and seminaries” of the day.
  • But, as we travel down the list, it gets more and more difficult.  This is when we turn to, both, early church history and the cultural, familial, and political contexts of the day.  For example, we know from history details about Jewish zealots and Jewish tax-collectors.
  • Last thing:  never forget that our extraordinary God uses ordinary (flawed, defective) people to accomplish his extraordinary work.  (See “Quote of the Week” below.)

 

This week’s tip:  For those who want to go “deeper.”

Many times I’ve had a person approach me and say sincerely, “Nick, I want to go deeper in our studies of the scriptures.”

My response:  “Define ‘deeper.’”

It normally takes a bit for them to formulate a response because they haven’t really thought about an answer to that question.

So, while they’re thinking I reply with something like:

“Consider this: begin by consistently putting into daily practice what you’ve already learned. It’s our obedience that activates our deeper understanding of scripture.”

It’s been said many times,

“The vast majority of Christians are educated past their level of obedience.”

Jesus broke it down this way as he concluded his parable of the Good Samaritan:

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man (to whom Jesus was telling the story) replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes. Now go and do the same.”Luke 10:36-37 [emphasis mine]

In other words, “Now do, and consistently put into practice, what you’ve learned.”

That’s how we go “deeper.”

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC OF THE WEEK

Centaurus A, home to an actively erupting supermassive black hole. This galaxy is approx. 13 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It’s diameter is almost as wide as our own Milky Way galaxy!

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“After Pentecost the same flawed disciples who had fled from Jesus’ trial became carriers of the Living God.  In an act of delegation beyond fathom, Jesus turned over the kingdom of God to the likes of his disciples – and to us.” – Philip Yancey

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

When one door closes and another one opens, you’re probably in prison.

I hate when a couple argues in public, and I missed the beginning and don’t know whose side I’m on.

Cop:  “Please get out of the car.”  Person he stopped: “I’m too drunk. You get in.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  Jesus was not “meek and mild”

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

The Navigator: 2.10.22

This Sunday, 2/13

  • Regular schedule

 

IMPORTANT COLLEGE MINISTRY NEWS

University Pastor Shawn Coleman submitted his resignation on Monday, February 7 effective immediately.  We appreciate Shawn’s years of service to BHBC and wish him the best in his future endeavors.  The staff and personnel committee are working together to care for the students currently involved in the ministry as well as developing plans for future growth.

 

THE DAY DA VINCI CHANGED HIS PAINTING

From Robert Strand’s 365 Fascinating Facts about Jesus:

When Leonaro da Vinci was 43 years old, Duke Ludovinco of Milan commissioned him to paint “The Last Supper” (the scene of Jesus and his disciples the night before he would be crucified.)

Da Vinci worked slowly and meticulously, spending more than three years to complete it.

When his masterpiece was completed, da Vinci invited a friend to view it.  He said, “Observe it and give me your opinion.”

“It’s wonderful!”, exclaimed the friend.  “The cup is so real I can not divert my eyes from it!”

Immediately,…Leonardo took a brush and painted across the sparkling cup.  He exclaimed as he did it, “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”

 

This week’s tip:  Never forget to share the Gospel

Both Paul and Peter use the phrase “in way of reminder” in their letters.  Translation?  It’s human nature to get distracted and forget.

Remember every now and then to share the plan of salvation by explaining the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  You can do this by sharing your own story.  Always be sure to cite scripture, showing your listeners the “truth that sets us free.”

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: CLARITY IN THE BASICS

Pt 2 of 2:  Jesus – Nothing Like Us

In Pt 1, in “Jesus – Just Like Us,” we took a close look at what the Bible says about Jesus’ humanity (that Jesus was human in every way, just like us). We looked at his childhood, his family, his “blue-collar” vocation, his emotions, etc. In Pt 2, we take a close look at what the Bible says about Jesus’ deity (that Jesus is God – the same God who spoke the cosmos into existence.)

 

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

Darwin on Trial

Atheist and NYU professor of philosophy, Thomas Nagel:

“…no viable account, even a purely speculative one, seems to be available of how a system as staggeringly functionally complex and information-rich as a self-reproducing cell, controlled by DNA, RNA, or some predecessor, could have arisen by chemical evolution alone from a dead environment.”  Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False 

Linked here for you are:

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC OF THE WEEK

**In honor of Valentine’s Day next Monday, I present to you “God’s Valentine.”

The Heart Nebula

Approximately 7500 light years away from Earth, this nebula is located in the constellation Cassiopeia. It is an emission nebula showing glowing ionized hydrogen gas and darker dust lanes.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“The debt was so great that while man alone owed it, only God could pay it.” – Anselm (10th century), on why God became man.

The Bible says “a lifestyle in unrepentant sin is like skydiving without a parachute – thrilling for a while, but it won’t end well.” -Michael Svigel

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Can God read our thoughts?  (You bet he can.)

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 1.28.22

**NOTE:  There will be no Navigator E-News published next week.   I’ll be out all week moving my daughter, Macy, to Nashville, TN. 

 

THIS SUNDAY, 1/30

  • Regular Schedule; Sammy continues his present sermon series

 

WEDNESDAY, 2/2

  • 6:30pm – Quarterly Business Meeting; Worship Center

 

SUNDAY, 2/6

  • Noon: Ambassador (Greeter) Luncheon & Training; for more information contact Mike Lewis.
  • 5pm – Prayer Service in Worship Center.

 

414 MINISTRY

Would you consider asking your class if they would like to minister to the faculty at Nat Williams Elementary in March, April or May?  The Generations class is taking the Feb. date.  You can do something as minimal as purchasing a snack-sized candy with a note of encouragement attached to be put in their boxes, or something as involved as provide lunch for them.  There’s no effort to little.  Let me know if you want to take part.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: Clarity in the Basics

As I considered teaching the doctrine of Jesus Christ it occurred to me that not once have I ever heard a sermon/lesson on the humanity of Christ.  I’ve heard countless sermons on his deity, but never his humanity.  The Holy Spirit convicted me strongly to help people understand that Jesus, although 100% God, was also 100% human.

Jesus (a common name of the time) grew up a “blue collar,” working man in a backwater town in northern Palestine.  There’s a reason Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” 

Jesus was the proverbial “kid from down the street” who, all of a sudden, began making himself equal to God.  So, it begins to make sense why his family thought he was out of his mind. 

Appreciating his humanity will deepen one’s awe at his deity.  Only then can we appreciate what it took for Jesus, the man, to withstand Satan in the desert and live as a man “tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.”

  • Pt 1 – Jesus: Just like you and me.
  • Pt 2 – Jesus: Nothing like you and me.

In Part One, below, I resonate with author, Philip Yancey, who wrote about Jesus,

[The more I studied the Bible, the more I discovered Jesus] “is very different from the Jesus I learned about in Sunday School. In some ways he is more comforting; in some ways more terrifying.”

 

“I CAN’T LOVE MY ENEMIES”

I mentioned last week that this particular social media post was shared from my page alone over 100 times.   Perhaps, the Holy Spirit can use it in your life, or in the life of someone in your class.  You will find it in this week’s Soul Food Blog below.

 

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

When someone claims only science can discover truth consider this statement by Andy Bannister:

“The claim ‘only science can discover truth’ is self-refuting, as the statement itself cannot be verified using science.”

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

An exciting article about the new NASA Webb Space Telescope can be viewed here.

This is Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, and the  largest and most massive moon in the solar system. In fact, it’s about 26% larger than the planet Mercury. It’s also the only moon known to have a magnetic field. There are 79 known moons around Jupiter at this time. Eight of these satellites, including the 4 Galilean moons, are relatively large and spherical. The rest are small and irregular, and were likely captured by Jupiter from the solar system.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“I know of no other practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened, your witnessing sharper…your faith will be solidified.” –  Chuck Swindoll

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  I Can’t Love my Enemies

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 1.20.22

THIS SUNDAY, 1/23

  • Adventure Guides are still available!  Again, this booklet is comprised of 30 easy-to-read devotionals to help people establish a habit of engaging God’s through his powerful Word.

 

This week’s tip:  Punctuality

I know…I know.  “Here’s Nick talking about being on time again.”  Honestly, since I lead in the early worship service, and not free to walk the halls, I don’t ever know who’s on time and who’s not.  So, this is not one of those “passive-aggressive pokes” at someone in particular.

This is merely a loving reminder that being on time matters.  Of course, there will be Sundays when unexpected crises arise that either cause us to be late, or miss altogether.

But, when things are going smoothly make certain and arrive a couple of minutes before your class is scheduled to begin.  Being there when folks arrive and making yourself available to welcome them speaks volumes – especially to guests.

Can you imagine a shepherd not being in their place while the sheep are searching for them?  You’re the entrusted shepherd of Jesus’ sheep.

 

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

The Faith of Christianity vs. the Faith of Atheism (or any other worldview)

I saw the quote at the quote below posted in a “proof for the existence of God” debate. I thought it was a very kind and thoughtful response. Good food-for-thought.

“The claim is that to believe there is no God, or to lack belief in a God, still requires faith.  You have to trust that the arguments of natural theology are false.  You have to trust that the information in DNA arose without an intelligent mind.

You have to have faith that consciousness arose out of dead inert matter. The list goes on and on. It takes faith to look at the universe and all it’s creative wonder and come out thinking that atheism is a better explanation than theism.”

All worldviews are faith-worldviews.  Like so many others, I simply don’t have enough faith to dismiss the evidence for the biblical worldview.

Think deeply, nw

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: Clarity in the Basics

Each week, I’ll include an introduction and video link to this past week’s opportunity for learning.  I missed you last week so I’m including Week One and Two here.

Week One: God the Creator

Why did I begin with “God the Creator?”  It just seemed logical.  For the very first sentence in our Bible says, “In the beginning, God created…”  As we look not only biblically, but rationally and scientifically, at the cosmos, the evidence is overwhelming that the Bible is true regarding creation and a Creator.  Of course, you can believe whatever you want.  But, if you’re honest, scientific discovery related to cosmology sure sounds a whole lot like Genesis 1.   In Miracles, C.S. Lewis wrote, “No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that “in the beginning God made the Heaven and Earth.”  I would have to agree.

 

Week Two: God’s Wrath vs. God’s Love

How do I reconcile God’s wrath with God’s love? How can I trust a God who, except for eight people, killed the entire population of earth in a flood? How do you explain a God who appears to have commanded genocide in the Old Testament with the Son of God, Jesus, who taught us to love our enemies in the New Testament?

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

The Pleiades (PLEE-uh-deez), or the Seven Sisters. It’s not a constellation, but an asterism and open cluster of young stars. It’s located 444 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus.

You actually see it almost every day – every time you see a Subaru logo.

 

HELP for a LOCAL PASTOR

I’ve known Eric Chaffin for a long time.  Presently, he’s on the pastoral staff at Southcrest Baptist Church here in Lubbock.  Below is the text from an email he sent out looking for help with his schooling.

I’m writing to request approximately 3 minutes of your time. My name is Eric Chaffin. I’m one of the Associate Pastors at Southcrest Baptist Church. I am currently working on a doctorate through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and have now entered into the dissertation phase. In order to properly design my dissertation project, which focuses on discipleship ministry in the local church, I need responses from you, the lay Bible teachers in our Lubbock area Baptist Churches. There are only 10 questions, most of which are simple yes/no questions. If you would take a brief moment to answer these and submit your survey it would not only help me tremendously, but you will have my heartfelt gratitude!

Access the survey by following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9QL2DM8

 

PREVIEW: “I can’t love my enemies”

Usually, when a social media post of mine gains traction it’s “shared” 50-ish times.  But, apparently a recent post I titled “I can’t love my enemies” resonated with the masses.  At present, it’s been shared 101 times.  I’ll include it in next week’s Navigator.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Out of 100 people, one will read the Bible, and ninety-nine will read the Christian. – DL Moody

And,…

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet. – Bob Marley

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Should everyone be able to claim their own truth?

At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards Oprah Winfrey said,

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Embedded within this week’s very brief blog is a video clip (less than two minutes in length).  Dr. Paul Copan kindly and intelligently disassembles the foolish idea that there can be multiple “truths.” Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 1.6.22

THIS SUNDAY, 1/9

  • Begin asking the Holy Spirit to bring to mind those within your “oikos” (sphere of influence) who need Christ.  And remember – always – before you talk to people about Jesus, talk to Jesus about those people.  Then, ask the Lord for opportunities/divine appointments for talking to them about Jesus.

 

30 DAYS

  • This Sunday our church will be introduced to a 30-Day devotional booklet to help us daily engage the Word of God.  Encourage your people to pick up a copy.

 

PRAYER WARRIOR BREAKFAST – THIS SATURDAY, 1/8

 

MID-WEEK LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES BEGIN NEXT WEEK, 1/12

All classes begin at 6:30pm except GriefShare which begins at 6pm.  For an overview of each class click here.

  • Engaging God’s Word; Sammy Elliott; FLC
  • Mere Christianity: Clarity in the Basics; Nick Watts; Worship Center
  • Ladies Bible Study – “He’s Where the Joy Is”;  Gail White
  • University – “Christ and Culture”; Shawn Coleman (off campus)
  • GriefShare; Joyce Rowe; Rm. 209
  • Also, learning opportunities for youth & children

 

EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE IS CATCHING UP WITH GENESIS

A few years ago, I had lunch with Particle Physicist, Dr. Michael Strauss, and listened to him talk about “theistic evolution.”  I have since studied what that implies.

I don’t hold woodenly to everything written in the article linked here but, as always, I like to pass along articles and quotes that help Christians think deeply and stay updated and informed about such things so as to help equip us to have intelligent dialogue with skeptics where the Christian faith is concerned.

Topics such as this one are what we call “non-essential.”  In other words, it’s perfectly okay to disagree on doctrines about which the Bible is not crystal clear.

For example, there is the “young earth vs. old earth” debate.  After I posted my opinion on the age of the universe (and earth) when considered in light of time dilation, presented by Jewish physicist, Gerald Shroeder,  I had a friend almost angrily insinuate that if I didn’t believe the earth was no more than 6000 years old I was a heretic in danger of leading the world astray.  This, of course, is nonsense.  And, enjoying a healthy debate, I let my friend know it was nonsense while also defending my openness to a much older universe and earth.  (By the way, we amicably agreed to disagree.)  Schroeder’s interpretation of Genesis 1 and its relation to cosmology is explained in a short blog by astrophysicist (and Christian), Sarah SalvianderYou can read it here.

The theme of the article linked here is to simply let the reader understand that, with every scientific discovery, God is more and more making himself known.

From the article:

Nathan Lents, a secular professor of biology at John Jay College, told Fox News Digital that recent developments have made Adam and Eve more plausible. “I would not say that there is any evidence, historical or scientific, in favor of the existence of Adam and Eve, as they are presented in the Bible,” Lents said. “However, there have been developments in our understanding of ancestry and genetics that allow for the possibility of universal ancestors of the entire human population in the surprisingly recent past.”

Dr. Joshua Swamidass, whose scientific findings the writer quotes, is a devoted Christian and strong defender of the Christian faith (as is the Particle Physicist I mentioned earlier.)

Read the full FOX News article here.

 

GO SEE THIS MOVIE

Kurt Warner went from stocking groceries during the “graveyard shift” to Super Bowl MVP.   American Underdog fills in the blanks with the powerful story that connects “grocery store stock boy” to, now, member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

The movie powerfully addresses numerous levels of humanity and struggle, and helps the audience see that there’s always hope – no matter our present circumstances.

Warner is a follower of Jesus Christ and has served Christ faithfully.

My favorite quote from the movie:

“You gotta do what you gotta do before you can do what you wanna do.”

In other words, “bloom where you’re planted.”  Or, as Jesus said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Faith can’t be trusted unless it can be tested.

Faith is like a muscle.  It cannot grow stronger unless it is exercised.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Why “spell-check” is your friend…

Also,…

A man went out and spent some time with some good friends. He got carried away and had a little too much to drink. He shares the rest of his story as follows…  “Feeling I might have been a little over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before – I took a cab home. Sure enough, on the way home there was a police roadblock. But since it was a cab they waved it past. I arrived home safely and without incident. This was a real surprise as I had never driven a cab before.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  Don’t Read the Bible Through in a Year

I posted this blog on social media as the calendar rolled over to 2022, and it received a lot of traction.

Bottom line:  it doesn’t matter how we choose to read and study the scriptures – just as long we do read it, consistently.

In my experience as a pastor, I have found that, after one makes the New Year resolution to read the Bible through in a year, they often quickly get bogged down somewhere in the Pentateuch and call it quits.

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

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

The Navigator: 12.9.21

THIS SUNDAY, 12/12

  • Sammy continues his present series from Matthew 1.
  • 5pm – Christmas Carol Sing-a-long.  Also, solos, trios, and instrumentals of your favorite carols.

 

This week’s tip:  Being sensitive to the other side of the holidays.

I mention it every year in our worship services.  While the holidays are filled with laughter, joy, fun and frolic, for many it is a time of great pain and loss.  As you shepherd your flock, remind your people that being broken and feeling defeated is as much a part of the Christian faith as feeling joyful and victorious.  Jesus was born for such as these.  Sam Allberry couldn’t have said it better:

 

‘TIS THE SEASON – for impatience and anger

Share these passages with your class.  Encourage them to jot the verses down on a card and place it where they see them everyday, or better yet – memorize them.   It will help when they’re stuck in that long line of traffic or the store, or when someone is rude to them during this “merry” time.

“Short-tempered people do foolish things…” – Prov. 14:17

“…a hot temper shows great foolishness.” – Prov. 14:29

“Better to be patient than powerful,…Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;…” – Prov. 16:32; 17:28

“Sensible people control their temper,…”  – Prov. 19:11

We’re never weaker than when we’re angry.

 

HOSTAGES IN HAITI: Update

One of the most powerful lines I remember from contemporary Christian music is the opening line from Steve Camp’s “Run to the Battle:”

“Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells; but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell.”

Christian missionaries are living that line right now.

For those who are aware of the Christian missionaries taken hostage in Haiti, click here for an update from CNN.  Pray for these people.

 

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

J.I. Packer wrote,

“Nothing so humbles the mind as thoughts of God.”

“In the beginning, God created…” – Gen. 1:1

**The universe contains more planets than seconds that have passed since the Big Bang.  (Read that again.)

Below is a photo from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Astronomers pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at a point in space where there appeared to be absolutely nothing, the emptiest part of space.

The telescope remained fixed on a tiny region of space – 1/26,000,000th of the visible sky – in the constellation Fornax for 11.5 days. (Fornax is 62 million light years from earth.)

The results were both shocking and breath-taking. 

Not only was something there in the seeming interstellar emptiness, but scientists discovered approximately 10,000,000 galaxies (every blip in this photo is not a star, it’s an entire galaxy!).

Believe this all happened by accident if you want. I don’t have that much faith.

God roared at Job:

“Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons…? Do you know the laws of the universe?… – Job 38:31-33

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 12/12 – Christmas Sing-along with the SonShiner Choir; 5pm
  • 12/24 – Christmas Eve Service; 5pm
  • 1/2 – Combined Worship; NO SUNDAY SCHOOL

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” – Horace Greeley

“The better you know the gospel, the better you’ll share the gospel.”- Bobby Jamieson.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

 

SOUL FOOD: Who were the mysterious Magi?

Read the answer here.

Soli Deo Gloria, St. Nick