Do you ever feel looked down upon because of your faith in Christ? Do you ever feel like people think you are intellectually inferior because you base your life on Christ and the Bible?
People who do not believe in God as Creator have a math that looks like the following...
No one + Nothing = Everything
While people who believe in God as Creator and the Bible as His book have a math that looks like...
God (of the Bible) + Nothing = Everything
Which takes more faith? Which is more intellectually sound?
Either you believe one or the other. Either you believe in Charles Darwin or God. Have you checked out these two authors? In all my education, I have been drilled with, "You must check out the authors, the sources." Are the sources reliable and trustworthy or not? I was challenged by one of my graduate professors to always compare the authors in competition. Compare Jesus with Muhammad. Compare Jesus with Buddha, with Joseph Smith, and anyone. Charles Darwin compared to God of the Bible.
So who was Charles Darwin as a person?
Did you know that Darwin grew up in the Anglican Church with some kind of Christian faith. He was deeply wounded when his 10 year old daughter, Annie, died which caused him to hate God. (understandably) This along with some other questions and struggles that went unanswered helped change Charles into an agnostic.
Did you know that he loved to kill animals. Charles Darwin’s own words, “Marvelous morning (after ship landed on the Brazilian coast) whooping and killing birds with abandon. I could have killed any number of them with my geological hammer.”
Did you know his emotional and physical challenges he faced? “He suffered from depression, agoraphobia – fear of crowds – insomnia, vision alterations, hallucinations, malaise, vertigo, shaking, tachycardia, fainting spells, shortness of breath, trembling, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle twitches, spasms, tremors, cramps, colic, bloating, headaches, nervous exhaustion, dyspnea, skin blisters, tinnitus, and sensations of loss of consciousness and impending death.”
Did you know his possible death bed conversion?
How about the God of the Bible?
Creator. Sustainer. Giver of life and everything that is good, right, beautiful, amazing, intellectual. Relational walking with Adam and Eve every afternoon in the garden. Giver of choice. Giver of salvation, rescuing Adam and Eve from death. Providing salvation through Jesus Christ. The list can go on and on.
Why did God create? So that He could create a family for Himself. So that He could create a bride (forgiven and redeemed people) for His Son to exist forever in a New Heaven and a New Earth. A place of no more pain, suffering, evil, temptation. A place of sheer joy, excitement and adventure. A place of relationship, laughter and feasting. A place of continual intrigue, learning and growing. A place of intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and celebrating all of the beauty, brilliance, creativity and adventure of who He is.
Who do you trust more, Charles Darwin or God?
There are so many solid, highly educated scientists who trust in God and His account of creation found in Genesis 1-2. No need to fear nor feel inferior.
Johannes Kepler’s belief in a brilliant Creator motivated his work in developing the ideas of the laws of planetary motion with the hope to paint a more detailed picture of the God of the Bible.
Galileo, one of the most influential physicists, astronomers, inventors and scientists, was a devout Christian believer.
Isaac Newton said, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”
Sir Francis Bacon, Lise Meitner, Stanley Jaki, Mike Hulme, Andrew Pinsent, Francis Collins are some others to name a few.
Putting my faith and mind in trusting God together,
Broken friendships hurt.
Has anyone left you high and dry?
Has anyone, whom you counted on to be there with you and for you, walked out on you?
Is a business partner, a co-worker, a ministry partner, a brother or sister in Christ, a friend or a family member no longer in your life?
Does the hurt ever go away? Can the trust ever be rebuilt? Can the relationship be rescued?
How does God feel about each person in this broken relationship?
Do you know the relational challenges of the author of the Gospel of Mark? John Mark, the author of one of the four biographies of Jesus Christ, had some major relational challenges.
Most likely, he came to know Christ through the preaching of Peter. His mother was Mary, the owner of the house where the church gathered to pray for Peter as he was in prison after James was martyred. Mark was also the cousin of Barnabas.
When God called the Antioch Church to send out two of their five pastors to share the Great News of Jesus and start new churches, Paul and Barnabas brought Mark with them as a "helper." Something happened on that first missionary, church planting journey that caused a relational rift between Paul and Mark. Mark left and went back to Jerusalem.
After returning home from their first mission, Paul and Barnabas sensed God calling them to go again and encourage those new churches.
"Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord."Acts 15:37-40
The desertion deeply hurt Paul so much that he not only did not want Mark to be with him as a ministry partner but that he even parted ways with Barnabas, his missionary brother. What a relational and ministry tragedy. How did this affect the church and those new church plants? How was the evil one going to exploit this? How will people twist this and who will take whose side? Will God step in and help?
As a minister for over 25 years, I have experienced relational rejection as well. As I have close relationships with dozens and dozens of church planters and pastors, each of us have had similar but unique relational challenges with ministry partners just like Paul, Mark and Barnabas. I am sure all people have.
Is there hope?
Paul wrote, "My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him." Col 4:10
Paul wrote, "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings, as do Mark, Aristarchus,Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers." Philemon 1:24
Paul wrote, "Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." 2 Tim 4:11
To go from deserter to follow ministry partner and restored brother is the miracle work of Jesus.
The author of the Gospel of Mark, is the story of a restored deserter. Only Jesus is the God who lovingly heals, restores and uses deserters like Mark. Only Jesus is the God who lovingly heals, restores and uses former tax collector (Matthew), former Gentile doctor (Luke), former greedy son of thunder (John), former violent zealot (Simon), former intellectual doubter (Thomas).
Only Jesus is the God who can lovingly heal, restore and use you.
Let's be overwhelmingly grateful. Let's be fully willing to do whatever our Healer and Restorer wants us to do today and every day.
Worshiping and following Jesus together,
For a few decades, I have been encouraged by this proclamation. When I first heard of this proclamation, it was communicated that the author was unknown. Now, people say that this is from a young African pastor who was martyred for his Christian faith. I encourage you to read this and proclaim this on a regular basis. May God use these truths to shape you.
"I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.
My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.
I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!"
Diving in together,
As I have watched the news showing the storms and floods in the south, hearing the terrible stories of people dying, getting hurt and facing so many problems, I saw a large tree in the middle of the flood standing strong. It brought Psalm 1 to mind.
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction."
Like that strong tree standing in the midst of the storms and flood, God describes a Christian who meditates on God's Word like a tree planted by a stream. The Psalmist explains that God does three powerful things inside of someone who meditates on God's Word.
The first powerful life transforming work of God in someone who prayerfully meditates on the Word is stability. "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water." Like a tree with deep roots being fed by a stream can handle storms, is the one who meditates on God's Word with deep roots in Christ. Trees by streams are strong even during times of drought. Its the image of a person who can keep on going during hard times. Its the person everyone looks to during stressful, overwhelming, and problem filled times.
The next powerful life transforming work of God in someone who prayerfully meditates on God's Word is character. "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." Trees produce fruit. The Psalmist's negative comparison is chaff. Chaff does not produce fruit, it just gets blown away. But, trees produce fruit. In someone who meditates on God's Word, God produces His fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." These are beautiful and attractive fruit in anyone. Are the people in your life enjoying the fruit God is growing in you?
The last powerful life transforming work of God in someone who prayerfully meditates on God's Word in Psalm 1 is blessed. "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers." Blessed is such a rich word and overlooked word in Scripture. It means God's full peace and well being in every dimension of our souls and lives. Blessed is the reality of being in this un-interrupted, intimate closeness and infinite joy of being with Jesus fully.
The Word is Jesus. Scriptures are Jesus. The 66 books are Jesus. Let's experience and grow in what the Psalmist learned. Let's see Jesus love us. Let's see Jesus come to earth for us. Let's see Jesus live, relate, teach and demonstrate how to live for us. Let's see Jesus suffer and die for us. Let's see Jesus rise from the dead for us. Let's see Jesus rejoice and sing over us. Let's see Jesus delight in us. Let's delight in Jesus. Let's delight in the Word. Let's delight in the Scriptures.
Letting Jesus transform us through meditating on the Word.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.