February, 2010

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Keller Excerpt (Chpt 2/3)

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Below are some excerpts from Timothy Keller’s book entitled, “The Reason For God!”

Enjoy …

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Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one. Again we see lurking within supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties. If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for the good answers to suffering, well, then, there can’t be any! This is blind faith of a high order.

Many people have to admit that most of what they really needed for success in life came to them through their most difficult and painful experiences.

Though none of these people are grateful for the tragedies themselves, they would not trace the insight, character, and strength they had gotten from them for anything.

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If you try to explain away all assertions of truth as one or the other or something else you find yourself in an untenable position. C.S. Lewis writes in The Abolition of Man:

But you cannot go on “explaining away” for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on “seeing through” things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too?…a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To “see through” all things is the same as not see.

“I’m trying to figure out God’s will for my life!”

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

 NEW SERIES SUNDAY MORNING (JAMES CHPT 4)

“I’m trying to figure out God’s will for my life.”

Have you ever said that?

I’m sure you have. We all have!

But what is God’s will? Should we think in terms of specific blueprint that we are to find and follow? And, if so, if we were to step out of God’s will, can we get back into it or is it too late? How detailed is the will of God for our lives?  What’s the difference between God’s Sovereign Will and God’s Moral Will? Are there some decisions in life that God leaves to us? Is God a micro-manager or a Shepherd-King? Aahh only some of the questions we’ll be answering!

As you know, we’re studying the book of James on Sunday morning (fast becoming one of my most favorite books!). And, now, we’re entering chapter four of James that specifically addresses the will of God. Is there a more important subject?

I really encourage you to study with us as we grow in the subject of God’s will for our life — and invite some friends too! Let them know that we’re beginning a series on “How Can I know The Will Of God For My Life!” You never know – for them, experiencing God’s will for their life may begin by turning to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord!

God wants you to experience His will! He’s not keeping it a mystery.

See you Sunday!

The Reason For God (Intro/ Chpt 1)

Monday, February 15th, 2010

JOIN ME :)

I’d love for you to join in a discussion on the book “The Reason For God” written by Timothy Keller!

I read the book a few month’s ago but I am excited about going through it again and I’d love to read it through with you in the next few months.

As I mentioned Sunday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to read a few chapters each week and open it up for comments and perhaps even some dialogue here on the blog.

If your unable to read through the book at this time, that’s ok – you are still welcome to join in the conversation and it would be great to hear from you!

I’ll be posting some of excerpts from Keller’s book that I have found particularly interesting and insightful that I hope you enjoy (see below the first excerpt from the Introduction to, “The Reason For God”).

Enjoy.

FIRST EXCERPT FROM “INTRODUCTION”

I want to make a proposal that I have seen bear much fruit in the lives of young New Yorkers over the years. I recommend that each side look at doubt in a radically new way.

Let’s begin with believers. A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard  questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.

Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts—not only their own but their friends’ and neighbors’.  It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them.   Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive. And, just as important for our current situation, such a process will lead you, even after you come to a position of strong faith, to respect and understand those who doubt.

But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts.  If you went to the Middle East and said, “There can’t be just one true religion,” nearly everyone would say, “Why not?”  The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt therefore, is based on a leap of faith.

The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubts and then to ask yourself what reason you have for believing it. How do you know your belief is true?”  It would be inconsistent to require more justification for Christian belief than you do for your own, but that is frequently what happens. In fairness you must doubt your doubts. My thesis is that if you come to recognize the beliefs on which your doubts about Christianity are based, and if you seek as much proof for those beliefs as you seek from Christians for theirs—you will discover that your doubts are not as solid as they first appeared. 

God Subtracts To Add

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

BLESSED SUBTRACTIONS

Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s a blessed subtraction?” It’s an expression that has taken a life of it’s own over the years among Christians. The reason for it is because believers have experienced that in God’s economy, He subtracts in order to ADD!

On Wednesday nights we’re studying the book of Acts. Presently we’re in Acts chapter 16.

Paul is just beginning his 2nd missionary journey but it began bitter-sweet. His faithful companion Barnabus has set out in another direction and has taken along John Mark. So, there has been a subtraction in Paul’s life. However, when he arrives in the city of Lystra he finds a young disciple named Timothy who will become like a “son” to him and will join him in his 2nd missionary journey – ultimately becoming a great leader in the church. In addition, when the team ends up in Troas, there is strong indication that Luke, a medical doctor, joins the team. This is the same Luke who will later pen the book of Luke and the book of Acts.

So, while there had been some “subtractions” in Paul’s life, there had also been some blessed additions as well!

I want to encourage you. Often the Lord will subtract in order to add to your life. It’s not always a comfortable process though. Sometimes there is pain like when the surgeon removes a cancerous growth in order to add health. The apostle Paul spoke of a painful “thorn” that hurt him for years. However, although there was a subtraction of comfort, God added POWER in Paul’s life promising that His strength is “perfected in weakness” and it was.

Be encouraged.

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Chances are what you’re going through is a “BLESSED SUBTRACTION!”