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Thursday, December 17, 2015

John 1 - The Coming of Christ

A slightly different Christmas message. John describes the coming of the Messiah in his prologue to his gospel.

Brian Ruins Christmas

A talk about what actually happened at the Nativity of Christ. Unlike what we see in the movies or artwork.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What is Eternity and Who Created God?

If God created everything, who created God?

God was not created, formed, or even born. The easiest way to say it is that God has always been. This is a difficult concept for many people, including Christians. It invariably leads to another question; What did God do before creating the universe? The question results from a misunderstanding of the word eternity. Eternity doesn't mean forever in the future. Eternity means without time. There was no 'before God created the universe,' because time did not start until the creation. "In the Beginning..." was the beginning of time as well as space and matter.

Perhaps an easier way to explain is like this.

Imagine a line representing time. Most people would see the line extending forever in both directions. Somewhere on the line would be the creation of the universe (either by God or the Big Bang.) Somewhere else would be the end of the universe (if you believe there will be one.)

Your life would also be on the line beginning at some point and moving right toward some other point. Humans can only move from left to right on the line. That is we can only go forward in time.

Most people who believe in God would say that God also exists on the line but He is able to move both forward and backwards on the line. That is God can move both forward and back in time and concern himself anywhere in history

To better understand the relationship between God and time, though. It helps to think of the line this way.
Imagine a line that begins at a definite point and ends at a definite point.

The starting point would be Genesis 1:1; the creation of the universe. The ending point would be Revelation 20:11; the end of the universe. Humans still exist on the line moving from left to right, forward in time.

But where is God? God does not move along the line, God exists outside the line; able to see the entire line at once

This also explains God's omniscience (all-knowingness.) God knows the future because he sees the future at the same time he sees the present and the past. Not only that, but remember God created the line. Which means he alone knows how long it will be. Eternity is the area outside the line. It is not just forever into the future but means without time at all. Why will there be no sun or moon on the new earth? (Revelation 21:23) Not just because God will be the light. The other purpose of the sun and moon is to mark time. (Genesis 1:14) There won't be a need for the sun or moon because there will be no time to measure.

This, of course, is not a perfect explanation, but I hope it helps.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

1 John 3 : How much does God Love Us

Here's this week's Bible Study on 1 John 3. Warning, I get a little preachy in this one.

Repeat : Songs that Aren't Christmas Songs

I attended a Christmas Bazaar this morning. In between children singing Christmas songs, they were playing the soundtrack to the movie Frozen. I wondered "What does Frozen have to do with Christmas?" This reminded me of a post I made last year about songs we always hear at Christmas but never mention Christmas or anything about Christmas. I believe we can add Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? to that list now. For your pleasure, here's a repeat of the original post.

While listening to a collection of traditional Christmas songs, it occurred to me that many of the songs which we so readily identify with Christmas actually don't mention anything about Christmas. I've made a partial list below. Please comment to add some more.

Winter Wonderland
While this song mentions the season of winter and many things associated with it, Christmas is not mentioned at all. This is true of several others on the list including...
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Frosty the Snowman
Jingle Bells and
Jingle Bell Rock
In fact the only version of this song I've heard that really rocks is the version by Geoff Moore and the Distance on Sparrow Records' "CHRISTMAS" album.

Sleigh Ride
is actually a good song (especially the Boston Pops' instrumental version) but again doesn't mention Christmas in the lyrics. It does say something about a birthday party, though.

Not so common is the song
Marshmallow World
I actually dislike this song very much because my mother had it on a Johnny Mathis Christmas album and my little sister played it to death one year.

Often included on Christmas compilations is the song
My Favorite Things
from The Sound of Music, A musical which has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.

The biggest surprise to most people, though, would have to be
The Hallelujah Chorus
While the song comes from an oratorio about the life of Christ, this chorus is actually sung for the resurrection. It's really an Easter song but nobody sings it, then.

There's my list so far. I may add more as I notice them. Feel free to comment on these and add some yourselves. Also go here and buy my book. (I need the money for Christmas presents.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Daniel 6 : Act Faithfully

Don't let persecution keep you from performing you service to God. Follow Daniel's example and keep your spiritual routines. Text is from Daniel 6


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Daniel 5 : Confront Sin

This weeks Bible Study. Daniel reads "the writing on the wall" to King Belshazzar.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Daniel 4 : Live Humbly

Nebuchadnezzar finds what happens when he does not give God credit for his accomplishments

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bible Study for October 4 God's Promise of Victory Romans 8:28-39

Here is this weeks Bible Study for those in my Sunday School class that won't be there or for anyone else who just wants to hear it. The text is Romans 8:28-39

Let me know in the comments what you think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Days without the Sun?

One of the most popular questions received by young-earth creationists, other than "Where did Cain get his wife," has to do with the order of creation events. The questioners wonder how the earth could have been made in six literal days, if the sun wasn't created until day four. After all, a day is defined by the position of the sun. So how could there be three days before the sun was created?

The truth is, you don't need a sun to define days. All you need are regular repeating intervals of light and darkness. We read in Genesis 1:1 that the first thing God created was space and earth. So we have a rotating planet. In Genesis 1:3 we see that the next thing God created was light. Most likely, as soon as God said "Let there be light." the entire earth was illuminated. Light came from all directions and had to be coalesced into a single source in verse 4.

Now there is a rotating earth with light on one side and darkness on the other. That's all that is needed for the term "day" to be used. Verse 5 specifies that there was evening and morning, that is, the earth was rotating out of and into the light just as it does today. This is one reason why I believe the six days of Genesis have to be six literal days. How can you apply the terms evening and morning to an unspecified length of time? Also, the terms "first day", and "second day," etc. point to literal 24 hour periods. If I was talking to you about my vacation and said "On the third
day there," you would assume I meant the third literal 24 hour period.

On the fourth day, then, God takes the light and confines it to a source. Actually several sources, for he makes all of the stars on this day, not just the sun. But the light already existed, now there's just this big ball of plasma for it to come from. An interesting parallel can be found in the description of the New Earth in Revelation 21:23. It says that the New earth won't need a sun for God will provide the light from his own shekinah. That is his own glory. Maybe that's how there was light before the sun in the beginning. We'll never know the source of the first light. After all, the Bible is not a science book, as skeptics are quick to point out. But it is a history book, so we can believe it when it describes the creation.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Revelation 12 : The Woman and the Dragon

This is a Sunday School lesson I gave a few weeks ago on Revelation 12. It concerns the vision of the woman and the dragon and the fall of Satan. Thanks to archive.org for hosting.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

You have no free will (if you're a 'scientist')

Here is what, in my mind, is the final clinching argument against scientific naturalism. For the scientifically-impaired, naturalism is simply the belief that everything that has or will happen in the universe can be explained by purely natural meaans. That is, there is no supernatural. This belief is the foundation of such scientific theories as the big bang, evolution and, in fact, all “true science” according to the definition of science as set by the National Science Foundation.
As I have mentioned before in my article The Problem with Science, the underlying fault with this belief is this. If there is, in fact, a supernatural force, it is not even taken into account as a possibility as the cause of any events. However, there is somethng that we do everyday that I believe requires the presence of a supernatural, which I believe to be the God of the Bible.
The very fact that we are able to debate it proves a supernatural force exists. This argument is so simple, I'm surprised it is not brought up more often. Follow my logic.
According to naturalistic belief, all processes of living things are essentially chemical in nature. Unless you believe in some magical force called “life” which would be supernatural in itself. Actually I think some biologists do believe in the mystical “life.” They just don't admit it. “Life finds a way.” says Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park.
Anyway, if all biological processes are chemical in nature, then they all simply follow the laws of chemistry and occur according to the nature of chemical reactions. For example, in 10th grade biology we were all taught the various chemical reactions that make up the processes of photosynthesis or DNA replication. Now understand that in a purely naturalistic universe, all chemical processes are the result of the law of cause and effect. In other words, if this molecule comes within a certain distance of that molecule they will always react in a certain way. In a purely naturalistic universe there is no randomness. All molecules are where they are because some other effect caused them to be there.
Now if this is true, then the same types of processes occur in the brain. After all, thoughts, according to naturalistic science, are simply caused by chemical reactions. As stated before, these reactions are caused by certain molecules being in certain places at certain times. But these places and times are determined by previous reactions. This series goes all the way back to our conception, which itself was caused by molecules being in certain places at certain times.
Therefore, in a purely naturalistic universe, there is no such thing as a random thought. All thoughts you have ever had were the result of chemical reactions which were caused by previous chemical reactions, etc. You have no free will even regarding your thinking, unless you believe that something called “the mind,” which Christians would call the soul, directs these molecules to be in certain places at certain times causing certain thoughts. But that would be supernatural. Otherwise, even the actions of the mind would be the result of cause and effect.
So, if you believe in a purely natural universe, you are saying that we can actually know nothing to be real because all thoughts were pre-determined at the time of the Big Bang (if there was one) and all aspects of the universe (even thoughts) are simply the results of series of chemical reactions. If you have an independent thought that you caused, then you must have a supernatural mind that can direct the chemicals that cause your thoughts. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What does "gift" mean?

In Romans 6:23 it says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Greek word that Paul used that is translated 'gift' is the word 'charisma.' The root form of that word is 'charis' which is usually translated 'grace.' Grace is when you are given something good that you don't deserve, which is precisely what a gift is. God grants us eternal life through no effort of our own. There is nothing we can do to earn it. All we have to do is trust Jesus.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Non-Christians just don't "get it."

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 the Apostle Paul says " But the unbeliever[a] does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated[b] spiritually. " What this means is, it does no good to argue spiritual things with a non-Christian because he just doesn't "get it." I've told my Sunday School Class many times it's useless to use the Bible as an argument when your opponent doesn't believe the Bible. This is why we usually lose the arguments on homosexuality, abortion, etc. when we argue with non-believers. If they don't accept our authority, then the are not swayed by it. The best we can do is to try to win our opponent to Christ, first. A good study of Biblical apologetics works here, too. We must show the authenticity of the Bible before the skeptic will accept its arguments. Prayer is the best method to use. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict the person to at least listen.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why don't we hear God?

Once when I was teaching 3rd grade Sunday School, the lesson was about Jeremiah. I mentioned that God told Jeremiah to write down his message and give it to the king. One of the boys in the class asked me, "You mean God really talked to Jeremiah?" "Yes," I answered. "God doesn't talk to me," he replied. I responded, "When was the last time you talked to God?"

We may not hear God talking to us because we don't spend any time talking to him. Or if we do, it's just to ask him for something. If the only time you hear from your friend is when he is begging you for something, would you want to talk to him?

I can personally testify to many times when I was sure God was talking to me. Once was when he told me where to go to college. Another was when he told me to be a high school teacher.

A main reason we don't hear God is because we are not listening. If I don't care about what someone is saying, I won't listen as well. Then I can't tell you what he said. Often we don't remember God talking because we don't care or want to hear what he's saying. Or we may be distracted by something else while he's talking.

In order to hear God, we must be paying attention and be ready to hear what he has to say. It helps if we are in the habit of talking to him, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reliability of Genesis

While researching the genealogies in the book of Genesis for my next book, I noticed something interesting. People claim the first eleven chapters aren't trustworthy because they happened so long ago. They don't have too many problems with everything from Abraham onwards. However, if you look at the genealogies. Noah lived until Abraham was about 50 years old. That means Abraham would have learned of the flood from someone who was actually there. This makes the account of the flood much more ...trustworthy. Abraham was not hearing a many generational exaggerated account. He heard the real thing from the real Noah. Also, Noah was alive at the same time as Adam's son Seth. Adam himself had only died a few years before Noah was born. So Noah heard the creation account from the son of the one who was there. So Abraham's creation beliefs couldn't have been very corrupted, probably not at all. Abraham lived to see his grandson Jacob, and Moses was only a few generations later. So when Moses compiled Genesis, he had written first or at most secondhand accounts of the events all the way back to creation. The book of Genesis is way more trustworthy than most give it credit. Your American history textbook probably doesn't use too many first or secondhand accounts as sources for anything more than about 100 years old, it uses other history books. Moses used autobiographies.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New FREE e-book

I just uploaded a new e-book. This one is FREE. It's called "Three Bible Difficulties." It answers three objections to the Bible's truthfulness regarding antiquated science and math. It is only a few pages long which is why I didn't feel like charging for it. Here is the link.
If you like it, check out my other books on the same site.
A short treatise answering three common arguments to the truthfulness of the Bible. Does the Bible really teach antiquated science? Is the Bible mathematically incorrect? Find the answers here about the Bible teaching a flat earth, a geocentric universe and the wrong value of pi.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Can't I Find God?

If God is omnipresent (everywhere at once), then why do we fail to see him so many times? Unfortunately, the answer is not God's fault, it's ours.

1. We don't know what to look for.

Skeptics who look for God expect to see a big Red Sea type of miracle, or they expect to hear a thundering voice from Heaven. God could speak that way, but most often, he doesn't. He spoke to Elijah in a still small voice.

2. We don't really want to find him.

Romans 1 tells us that one way God reveals himself to us is through nature. (General Revelation) Every one of us, at onetime or another, has looked at the supposed beauty of nature and wondered about God. (Nature isn't really that beautiful. Remember we live in a cursed world. Imagine what nature looked like before the fall.) But Romans also tells us that we tend to worship the created, rather than the creator. We try to find natural explanations for everything around us instead of looking for God in it.

3. We do see him but we call it something else.

Most every one of us knows of someone who was amazingly healed of a serious condition. Or we know someone who received a sum of money just when they needed it. Or any number of other things that "just happened" at the right time for good. We call them coincidences instead of God.

God really is everywhere. We don't see usually because we choose not to see. We want to help ourselves instead of asking God for help. God is really there waiting for us to call on him.