All You Wanted to Know about the BHBC Music Ministry (and more)

MUSIC NOTES: 8.23.17

(I figured, with all the rain we’ve received recently, this was an appropriate scripture for the week.) 🙂

 

SEPT 10th – PASTOR UMAR MULINDE SPEAKS AT BHBC!

Umar Mulinde grew up in Muslim-dominated Uganda.  After professing his faith in Christ he was attacked on Dec. 24, 2011.  The attackers poured acid on his head and face.  Multiple surgeries followed.  But the terrifying attack did not affect Umar’s passion for telling the world about Jesus Christ.  Pastor Umar will be our guest on Sunday, Sep. 10th.  Click here to read more about Pastor Umar’s harrowing experience.  WARNING:  photos of his injury on his “about” page are graphic.

 

TEACHERS, COACHES, ADMINISTRATORS…

Some school districts began this week.  Others will begin next week.  Just a reminder to all those men & women who tirelessly pour themselves into the lives of students…

 

ONE MORE WEEK! 

Adult Choir rehearsals begin Aug. 30th @ 5:30pm!

On Wed. evening, 8/30, we will spend the entire hour singing through this year’s Christmas Musical Event, “Joy! Unspeakable Joy!”   Do you know someone who might enjoy singing in the Christmas musical with us?  Bring’em!

 

FALL SEMESTER WED. BHBC EVENING MINISTRY/STUDY OPTIONS

Unless otherwise noted, all classes begin on Aug. 30th, at 6:30pm.  Here are the options offered this Fall:

The Case for Christ – a study in Christian Apologetics led by Nick Watts in the Worship Center.  This is a 4-week preaching/teaching series.  A new series to follow will be announced soon.

GriefShare – a ministry to those who are dealing with the grief of having lost a loved one.  Led by Jim & Judy Gerlt.  Location: Annex 3.

Divorce Care – a ministry to those working through and rebuilding after a divorce.  Led by Isaias & Sonya Martinez.  Conference Room (just north of Preschool area).

Financial Peace – a video-based series featuring financial planner and author, Dave Ramsey.  Led by Matt & Emily Green.  Room 6 downstairs. Cost for materials: $110

Equipping/Training – New Members – Led by Mike Lewis & Jason Atchley.  Room 9 downstairs.

Strength to Love – a ministry to those who’ve had loved ones make decisions that have caused pain, both, within themselves and within their family.  Led by Dormye Halbrooks & Cam Johnston.  Contact the church office for more information.

Women on Wednesdays (WOW) – a gathering of women to study various topics together.  Bergstrom Hall.

ESL – a class to help people learn English as a second language.  This one meets on Sundays at 3 pm starting September 10, in Room 129, adjacent to Bergstrom Hall.

For an overview of these classes on the BHBC web site click here.

NOTE:  I do want to mention a special GriefShare offered on Tuesday evenings at 6pm at Lakeridge Chapel located at 6025 82nd (SE corner of 82nd & Iola).  This ministry, beginning Aug. 22nd, and led by Jim Gerlt & Joyce Rowe, is designed specifically for those parents who have lost children.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

(Oh…there’s so much truth in this – which is why it’s so funny.)

 

GRACE NOTES:  Our True North: the Word of God

Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

MUSIC NOTES: 8.15.17

 

ADULT CHOIR REHEARSALS BEGIN AUG. 30th @ 5:30pm!

On Wed. evening, 8/30, we will spend the entire hour singing through this year’s Christmas Musical Event, “Joy! Unspeakable Joy!”   Do you know someone who might enjoy singing in the Christmas musical with us?  Bring’em!

 

FALL SEMESTER WED. BHBC EVENING MINISTRY/STUDY OPTIONS

Unless otherwise noted, all classes begin on Aug. 30th, at 6:30pm.  Here are the options offered this Fall:

The Case for Christ – a study in Christian Apologetics led by Nick Watts in the Worship Center.  This is a 4-week preaching/teaching series.  A new series to follow will be announced soon.

GriefShare – a ministry to those who are dealing with the grief of having lost a loved one.  Led by Jim & Judy Gerlt.  Location: Annex 3.

Divorce Care – a ministry to those working through and rebuilding after a divorce.  Led by Isaias & Sonya Martinez.  Conference Room (just north of Preschool area).

Financial Peace – a video-based series featuring financial planner and author, Dave Ramsey.  Led by Matt & Emily Green.  Room 6 downstairs. Cost for materials: $110

Equipping/Training – New Members – Led by Mike Lewis & Jason Atchley.  Room 9 downstairs.

Strength to Love – a ministry to those who’ve had loved ones make decisions that have caused pain, both, within themselves and within their family.  Led by Dormye Halbrooks & Cam Johnston.  Contact the church office for more information.

Women on Wednesdays (WOW) – a gathering of women to study various topics together.  Bergstrom Hall.

ESL – a class to help people learn English as a second language.  This one meets on Sundays at 3 pm starting September 10, in Room 129, adjacent to Bergstrom Hall.

For an overview of these classes on the BHBC web site click here.

NOTE:  I do want to mention a special GriefShare offered on Tuesday evenings at 6pm at Lakeridge Chapel located at 6025 82nd (SE corner of 82nd & Iola).  This ministry, beginning Aug. 22nd, and led by Jim Gerlt & Joyce Rowe, is designed specifically for those parents who have lost children.

 

RACISM & THE BIBLE

You’ve no doubt heard about the White Supremacists/KKK Rally in Charlottesville, Virgina, and the violence that ensued resulting in one death and many seriously injured. (Of note, every organization represented in the United States – regardless of how unpopular their views – has the constitutional right to assemble peacefully and benefit from their right to free speech.  But that is a topic for a different article.)

As a youth pastor, I would periodically teach on the topic of racismRacism (which can originate in any race toward another race) is, in my experience, taught/passed down rather than learned inherently. Like a disease (not terminal, mind you, since it can be un-learned), racism infects the right and biblical thinking of individuals.  I use the adjective, biblical, since, tragically, I’ve visited with a few people over the years claiming to be Christians who are angrily racist.

Racism was rampant in the Bible as the biblical writers, for example, record the hatred Jews had for Samaritans (and vice-versa) as well as the Egyptians forcing the Hebrew people into centuries of slavery.  Some erroneously accuse God of endorsing slavery since we read about slavery in the Bible, and Jesus and Paul never openly condemning slavery.  That is a sorely irresponsible interpretation.  Always remember: just because the Bible records something doesn’t necessarily mean the Bible approves of what is being recorded.  There are numerous heinous acts recorded in Scripture.  Why?  Because it’s the story of God’s pursuit of fallen man – and God never sanitizes the depravity of fallen man (us).

When Jesus & Paul commanded us to “love your neighbor as your self” their clear meaning was that “neighbor” represented all humanity.  Addressing the equality of every created human being, Paul writes to the Galatians, There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. In short, racism is sin.

NYT best-selling author/historian, Eric Metaxas, one of my favorite biographers, tweeted:

Well said, Eric.  nw

 

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE COMING OUR WAY NEXT WEEK

And the United States is the only country on earth that gets to see it!

One of my childhood aspirations was to be an astronomer. I’m still fascinated by astronomy. This brief article about the upcoming total solar eclipse (Aug 21st) is mind-numbing in regard to the power of our closest star, our sun. I read many years ago, “When you consider the power of the sun, consider the power of its awesome creator.”

Read general information about the eclipse here and here.  And read here to learn how to capture the eclipse with a smartphone.

 

LEE STROBEL SHARES A WONDERFUL (and brief) ILLUSTRATION OF GRACE

Read the short story here.

 

Peter Bence & “Despacito” (This guy is incredible.)

You will love this original version of the hit song, “Despacito”, by pianist, Peter Bence.  Enjoy.

 

MORE MUSICAL BLISS – THE BEACH BOYS

I well remember seeing these guys in concert the summer of 1982 at Six Flags in Arlington.  In this short clip, the audio engineer has removed the musical accompaniment to expose the vocal talents of this beloved band.  Enjoy…

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“We don’t need to try to find our way to God using religion; rather the staggering claim of the gospel is that in Jesus, God has come to us.” Andy Bannister

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Recently, while traveling together, Michelle and I listened to this short clip by comedian, Tim Hawkins.  We were laughing so hard (because it’s so true) that I almost had to pull off the road.  Enjoy.

 

GRACE NOTES:  Christ in the Old Testament

Does Jesus wait to show up in the Bible until the gospels?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

MUSIC NOTES: 8.10.17

 

IT’S AUGUST!

WE TOOK JULY OFF, BUT THE MUSIC NOTES E-NEWS IS BACK.

HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING…

 

THE CASE FOR CHRIST MOVIE EVENT:  THIS SUNDAY, AUG. 13th; 6pm!

Join us this Sunday evening, Aug. 13th, 6pm, for a free viewing of the powerful movie, “The Case for Christ,” based on the life of former atheist, Lee Strobel.  Popcorn and drinks will be served in the Commons beginning at 5:30.  Open to everyone.  Invite a friend!

 

ADULT CHOIR REHEARSALS BEGIN AUG. 30th @ 5:30pm!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed having July & August “off”.  Get ready to get to work!  On Wed. evening, 8/30, we will spend the entire hour singing through this year’s Christmas Musical Event, “Unspeakable Joy!”   I absolutely LOVE this musical – and so will you. 🙂

NOTE:  All mid-week studies/ministries resume on Wed. evening, Aug. 30th.  More on the specific studies being offered in next week’s MUSIC NOTES E-News.

 

Construction has been slow the past several weeks.  But we are getting word that it’s about to pick up again.  Below are a few current pics of progress made.

Kitchen view from FLC Hallway

“Inner kitchen” view from south inner door.

Lower courtyard from east FLC hallway.  The re-bar you see at the bottom is where the new/relocated stairwell will be going.

Preschool Area – Ceiling removed

FLC – Ceiling removed

 

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF BHBC

On July 27th, the staff (as they do for each staff member) threw a little birthday party for me and Dormye (her birthday was the 29th).  As we were visiting I hollered, “Hey!  Let’s get a picture!”  It turned out great.  Would you believe that I’ve served at churches where the staff did not get along with one another?  Sadly, that’s more common than you might think. One of the things that makes BHBC unique is the genuine love our entire staff has for one another.  These people make coming to work each day a joyous experience.  Two of our staff were unable to attend the party and have been “added.”  Can you guess which two? 🙂

 

POWERFUL TESTIMONY FROM AN NFL ATHLETE

I’ve never really been a fan of the NFL Oakland Raiders.  But, as long as David Carr is their quarterback, I will root for them.  Carr, a devoted Christian, shares in this brief, 3 1/2 minute video clip how God directed him to speak boldly at a recent event.  He obeyed.  Listen to him tell what happened next.

 

1 PIANO; 4 REVOLVING PIANISTS; 8 CLASSIC HYMNS

Enjoy this fun unrehearsed performance recorded after a church service in South Georgia

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

GRACE NOTES:  Doubting God (it’s ok to do that :))

Read the brief blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

MUSIC NOTES: 7.3.17

 

NOTE:  No Music Notes E-News next week (the week of July 10th)

 

THIS SUNDAY, July 9th

***NO CHOIR until BHBC begins mid-week activities again in late August.  (Enjoy your sabbath.) 🙂

Preacher:  Jason

 

PASTOR UMAR MULINDE HERE AT BHBC – SEP 10th

Umar Mulinde grew up a Muslim in Uganda.   After professing his faith in Christ – and therefore endangering his life – he was attacked by radical Muslims who poured acid on his face.  Multiple surgeries followed, but Pastor Umar continues to boldly preach and share the gospel of Christ.  We get to hear him in person on Sunday, Sep. 10th.  Fox 34 Lubbock recently did a great story on Pastor Umar.  You can view that article – and video – here.

 

MASSIVE CROSS WITH CROWN OF THORNS

If you happen to be driving along I-55 in central Mississippi you won’t be able to miss a new monument being erected.  The cross, provided by private funds on private land, is 150 feet tall.  Read the Fox News story here.

 

ATHEIST HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR PROFESSES FAITH IN CHRIST

Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) was the acclaimed Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University and one of the most celebrated legal minds in American history.

A professed atheist, he told his students the resurrection of Christ was a silly fable. A few students challenged him to apply the same methods of investigation he used in law to Christ’s resurrection.

Just like former atheist, Lee Strobel, and so many others who would live after him, Greenleaf came to the following conclusion:

“ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF LEGAL EVIDENCE USED IN COURTS OF LAW, THERE IS MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE HISTORICAL FACT OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST THAN FOR JUST ABOUT ANY OTHER EVENT IN HISTORY”

Read the story more in detail here.

 

CHRISTIAN BOYS vs. GODLY MEN

Having two daughters of my own who are still dating, I found this blog to be solid.  If you have a daughter, read this, then make sure they read it too. 

From the article: “Ladies, a man will love you great when he loves God greater.”  You can view the blog here.

 

A MAP OF THE SOUL

This is a strong article on the debate between “materialism” (the darwinian evolutionary argument that we are nothing more than matter i.e. mere products of our physical brains, much like a robot is a product of its hardware and software) and what I’ll call here simply “beyond materialism” (the argument that we are much more than mere matter, possessing a soul and a “mind” i.e. consciousness, that transcends our material selves.)  You could call this latter view “super-naturalism” since, by definition, it means: beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature. 

In any event, this has, for centuries, been a common debate between scientists, philosophers and theologians – and a common argument for anyone who denies the existence of God.  Obviously, the Christian, believing we are not only created, but created in the image of God (Imago Dei – Latin for “Image of God”), hold to the latter argument.  Here is a solid article by Michael Egnor, professor of neurological surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, writing in favor of “beyond materialism.”

From the article: “Our higher brain functions defy precise mapping onto brain tissue, because they are not generated by tissue, as our lower brain functions are.”

The scholarly article is excellent.  You can view it here.

Bonus:  Should you have some additional free time during the week, here is another outstanding (and brief) article on this topic written by HBU professor and political activist, Nancy Pearcey, entitled: Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails.  View the article here.

 

SUICIDE “TEXT” LINE

I had no idea this existed until this past week.  FYI – if a person will text 741741 when they are feeling depressed, suicidal, or just needing someone to talk to, a crisis counselor will text with that person. Many people – especially those who are severely depressed – do not like talking on the phone and would be more comfortable texting. It’s a free service.  National Suicide Prevention main number: 800 273 8255

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK:

Regarding our Christian faith…. “In many ways your Christian life is like a tube of toothpaste. You don’t know what’s in there until you squeeze it.” Voddie (pronounced VOH-dee) Baucham

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

British Comedian, Michael McIntyre, on “the different spelling of the same names of people.”  Under 3 minutes.  Very funny.  Very true. I laughed out loud.  Enjoy.

 

GRACE NOTES:  The Bible, the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon

I’m currently reading a wonderful work of biblical scholarship and knew you would enjoy the powerful pericope included in this brief blog.  View the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

MUSIC NOTES: 6.27.17

 

THIS SUNDAY, 7/2

NOTICE:  No small-group Bible Study; ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE at 10:30am; Adult Choir, please meet me in the choir room at 10am where we will polish up Wilhousky’s “Battle Hymn.”   AND…. this is the last Sunday we will sing until we resume Wed. evening activities/rehearsals in late August.

Choir:  Battle Hymn

Preacher:  Jason

 

Is Genesis history? One of my friends from the apologetics program at HBU replied, “Yes – ever since Phil Collins went solo.” LOL (I agree!)

I recently watched a program on Netflix titled, “Is Genesis history?”

Interviewed are scientists with Ph.D’s in geology, paleontology, biology, microbiology, marine biology, astronomy, and archaeology. (The interview that blew my mind most was with the marine biologist.)

One of the scientists interviewed, Arthur Chadwick, has a Ph.D in Taphonomy – the branch of paleontology that deals with the processes of fossilization. He said:

“It’s one thing to have faith – I have faith that God was the creator. That’s substantiated by [the evidence] I see around me. To say I have faith that evolution produced [dinosaur fossils] – I can’t even see how it could have happened. That’s *blind* faith.”

The show includes a significant amount of discussion regarding the age of the earth i.e. “young earth” (6 to 10,0000 years old) vs “old earth” (hundreds of millions of years old). This is a non-essential for the Christian faith. It makes for intriguing dialogue but it’s not critical what one’s belief is where the age of the earth is concerned.

Oxford professor of mathematics, Dr. John Lennox, wisely writes,

“It is important to take on board right away that both the young-earth and the ancient-earth creationist views go back a long way. Neither of them is a recent invention.”

While some hold to a hard-line position that the word translated “day” (Hebrew “יוֹם” or “yom”) recorded in the creation narrative is, without question, a 24-hour day (in my opinion, the Hebrew word “yom”, when interpreted systematically, does, in fact, suggest a 24-hour period of time), there are multiple committed Christian scientists – and theologians – who hold to an “old earth” position or, at least, are open to the idea. Bottom line: it doesn’t matter. (What matters is that Christ died on the cross outside Jerusalem 20 centuries ago and rose from the grave three days later.)

Whatever the age of the earth, it is interesting to know that biblical scholars cite that more time transpires in the first 11 chapters of Genesis than in the rest of the Bible combined.

Of course, as a professing Christian, I personally believe Genesis to be narrative history. What was powerful (to me) in the 90 minute show was the intelligence of the dialogue. Very compelling. Again, Christianity certainly requires faith – but it’s not blind faith.

NOTE: I mentioned Dr. Lennox. For further study on this topic, I would recommend his fine book, “Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science.”

Hats off to Netflix for making the program available.  You can read a small blurb about the show here.  (You must be a subscriber to Netflix to be able to view this show at this time.)

 

EVIDENCE OF RESURRECTION LEADS FORMER ATHEIST/DOCTOR TO FAITH IN CHRIST

Powerful story.

I share these stories to, hopefully, remind people that, certainly, Christianity requires faith, but it’s an intelligent faith.

Paul, the disciples, Luke, Mark, Cornelius, the Philippian jailer, the Greek philosophers at Mars Hill, Apollos & Aquilla, etc., (people recorded in the New Testament who placed their faith in Christ) were not simple-minded, gullible, backwoods morons. These were intelligent, critically-thinking people who made a deliberate choice to trust that Christ was exactly who he said he was – much like Dr. Greg Viehman here.

Access Dr. Viehmann’s story here (A video testimony follows the article.)

 

WHO KNEW PACKING A 20 POUND LIVE LOBSTER IN YOUR AIRLINE LUGGAGE WOULD BE A PROBLEM?

Read the crazy story here.

 

OLD FARMER’S ADVICE

I grew up working my summers on my grandparents’ farm.  I know these to be t

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble-bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Do not corner something you know is meaner than you.

When you wallow with the pigs, expect to get dirty.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he’s too old to fight, he’ll just kill you. 🙂

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

The late British evangelist Gypsy Smith once quipped, “There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Christian, but most people never read the first four.”

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

During a visit to the doctor, a patient asked him, “How do you determine whether or not an older person should be put in a old-age home?”

“Well,” he said, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the person to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” the patient said.  “A normal person would use the bucket to empty the bathtub because it is bigger than the spoon or teacup.”

“No,” he said.  “A normal person would pull the plug.  Do you want a bed near the window?”

 

GRACE NOTES:  Pascal’s Wager

Blaise Pascal (pronounced “pas-KAL”) was a 17th century French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and inventor.  He was also a Christian who is famous for what is commonly known as Pascal’s Wager.  This article was published in the regional magazine, Lubbock Metro Leader.  View the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

MUSIC NOTES: 6.20.17

NOTE:  I leave to go to a conference on Sunday afternoon, June 18th.  So I’m getting this week’s Music Notes to you a few days early. :))

 

SUNDAY, June 25th

Choir:  “Standing on the Solid Rock Medley” (sorry for the confusion; I’ve changed the song schedule a little.  We will sing this song on the 25th)

Preacher:  Jim Gerlt

 

REMINDER:  Monday, June 19th – Staff & volunteers will begin clearing the FLC kitchen for demolition and construction.

 

FINAL NOTICE BEFORE EVENT:  You can access all the information (and needed help) for this event by clicking hereThe event is this coming Friday, June 23rd.  Staff liaison is Mike Lewis (since I will be out of town.)  Questions?  Contact Mike.

 

I recently met with Pastor Jason about our Bacon Heights web site.  As we visited, one of the tasks he invited me to oversee is a web page dedicated to the hard questions of the Christian faith.  (This is a passion of mine and a field of graduate study I have enjoyed.)  I simply wanted to alert you to the fact that I have begun work on that web page.  You can view the link here.  The site is in its embryonic stages as I have only just begun working on it.  In the coming weeks and months, I will work to improve and broaden the design, resources and information.  But, even now, I have provided quotes and web links to helpful sites and resources.  Enjoy learning why you believe what you believe.  Incidentally, I’ve also updated our Music Ministry web page.  You can check that out here.

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT THE BIBLE IS “GOD-BREATHED?”

What follows is an excellent, systematic response to that question by Lee Strobel.  Enjoy.

Amos makes it clear that he was minding his business, shepherding livestock and caring for sycamore trees, when God called him as a prophet. Just as his calling was divinely inspired, so too is the record of his life. The Bible says that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). So what do Christians believe was the process by which God created the Bible?

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, one of the foremost scholars of New Testament Greek, fields this question by saying, “We aren’t given a lot regarding the process of inspiration, but we know the Bible wasn’t dictated by God. Look at the Old Testament: Isaiah has a huge vocabulary and is often considered the Shakespeare of the Hebrew prophets, while Amos was a simple farmer with a much more modest vocabulary. Yet both books were inspired. Obviously, this doesn’t mean verbal dictation. God wasn’t looking for stenographers but holy men to write his book.”

Some clues about the inspiration of Scripture are apparent when Matthew quotes the Old Testament, saying, “This was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” (Matthew 2:15, author’s paraphrase). “By the Lord” suggests God is the ultimate agent of that prophecy. “Through the prophet” suggests an intermediate agent who also uses his personality. That means the prophet was not taking dictation from God; instead, God was communicating through visions, dreams and so forth, and the prophet was putting it in his own words.

When Christians say the Bible is inspired, they mean it is both the Word of God and the words of men. Founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, Lewis Sperry Chafer, puts it well: “Without violating the authors’ personalities, they wrote with their own feelings, literary abilities, and concerns. But in the end, God could say, That’s exactly what I wanted to have written.”

Dr. Wallace says, “Remarkably, the New Testament writers didn’t even know they were writing Scripture, so obviously God’s work was behind the scenes. In the end, I think this is a greater miracle than a Bible coming down from heaven on golden tablets, because the books of the Bible are a collective product that men embraced as their own while ultimately — and often only much later — recognizing that there was another author behind the scenes. It wasn’t until one of the final books of the New Testament was written that Peter uses the word Scripture in referring to Paul’s letters” (see 2 Peter 3:16).

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous . . . There are two equally dangerous extremes: to exclude reason; to admit nothing but reason.” ― Blaise Pascal, 17th century mathematician & physicist

“We may be, in part, products of our past: but if the gospel is true, we do not need to be prisoners of it.” Andy Bannister

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

GRACE NOTES:  “Who is Jesus?”

It’s the most important answer you’ll ever give.  Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

MUSIC NOTES: 6.13.17

 

THIS SUNDAY, June 18th (Father’s Day)

Choir:  I Stand Upon the Rock Medley

Preacher:  Jason

Note: Join me at 8:45am in the Choir Room during the month of June. 

 

THIS PAST WEEK’S BIG STORY:  Freedom of Religion? Yes.  Freedom of Biblical Christianity?  Not so much.

As I’ve stated before, I do not address politics in this publication.  We all have our convictions and opinions where politics is concerned.  (If you ever want to know mine – again, as I’ve stated before – call me for coffee and I’ll be happy to share. :))

Having said that, the issue of religious freedom is a bipartisan issue clearly supported by the United States Constitution – and I have no reluctance for speaking to, or defending, that freedom.

The big news last week was the attack on religious freedom by two U.S. Senators.  The person under religious attack was Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Russell Vought is an alumni of Wheaton College, a strongly evangelical Christian school.  Approximately a year and a half ago, a Wheaton professor, Dr. Larycia Hawkins stated that Muslims and Christians worship the same God – which is, according to the message of the Bible vs. the message of the Q’uaran, blatantly false. (For a brief explanation of the exclusivity of the world’s major religions click here.) While still a professor at Wheaton, Hawkins had written, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.  And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

Wheaton College terminated Dr. Hawkins. As you can imagine, a firestorm of debate ensued.  One of the editorials written in the weeks that followed Dr. Hawkins’ termination was one by Mr. Vought  explaining the discrepancy between Islamic and Biblical theology.  You can read that editorial here.

At Mr. Vought’s confirmation hearing last week, two Senators – Bernie Sanders & Christopher Van Hollen Jr. – asked probing questions about Mr. Vought’s Christian faith.  But they didn’t stop there.  What followed was an overt attack on Mr. Vought’s Christian faith and how, in the senators’ opinion, Mr. Vought’s faith makes him unqualified to serve in public office.   The attack on Vought’s Christian faith was done under the guise that his Christian faith might impede his ability to treat people fairly.  You can view the the exchange between Sanders & Vought below.  It’s less than 3 minutes in length.

Clearly, Senator Sanders’ implication is that one’s faith should be a litmus test to serve in public office.  This is where the real firestorm exploded.  Of course, Sanders defiantly defended his comments by saying, “In my view, the statement made by Mr. Vought is indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”  So, here Mr. Sanders makes one of his many mistakes:  he defends one of the world’s religions (Islam) and attacks another (Christianity).  It is significant to understand that, both, Islam and Christianity make exclusive claims for truth.  But, alas, only Christianity gets attacked.

And, speaking of Christianity, Senator Christopher Van Hollen Jr., offered this convoluting comment.  Speaking to Mr. Vought, he says,

“I think it is irrefutable that these kinds of comments suggest to a whole lot of Americans that, number one . . . you are condemning people of all faiths. I’m a Christian, but part of being a Christian in my view is recognizing that there are lots of ways that people can pursue their God. . . .

I’m happy the senator said, “…in my view…”  Because, clearly, the Senator is sorely unfamiliar with his Bible.  He is justified in saying that “there are lots of ways that people can pursue their God.”  No one disagrees with that.  However, there’s only one way to know the God of the Bible: through faith in his son, Jesus Christ.

To no one’s surprise, the Huffington Post defended Sanders’ statements, creating their own version of logic.  The author, James Zogby, wrote:

It is Vought, not Sanders who has used a religious test to support the firing of a tenured professor. His demonstrated intolerance is a disturbing trait for someone in public service. Vought may claim that all are “worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs”, but when it came to Professor Hawkins, a fellow Christian, Vought behaved quite differently, precisely because her description of her faith did not comport with his narrow interpretation of Christian theology.

Zogby’s logic is myopic and downright wrong.  Dr. Hawkins was teaching non-Christian doctrine at an expressly evangelical Christian college, and was not running for public office.  (I would ask Mr. Zogby to try and teach non-Islamic doctrine at an Islamic school and see what happens next.) Comparing the two stories is an argument based on Zogby’s errant logic, biased opinion and gross ignorance of the biblical gospel.

As expected, the ACLU, quickly jumped to Sanders’ defense by writing:

“Religious freedom is such a fundamental liberty that the framers of our Constitution enshrined it in the First Amendment. That’s why it’s so disturbing that Trump continues to pack his administration with appointees like Russell Vought, whose views threaten that very freedom.”

Once again, every world religion is given a pass – except Christianity.  The hypocrisy was deafening.  And the world noticed.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention responded to Sanders’ comments.  He said:

Senator Sanders’ comments are breathtakingly audacious and shockingly ignorant — both of the Constitution and of basic Christian doctrine. Even if one were to excuse Senator Sanders for not realizing that all Christians of every age have insisted that faith in Jesus Christ is the only pathway to salvation, it is inconceivable that Senator Sanders would cite religious beliefs as disqualifying an individual for public office in defiance of the United States Constitution. No religious test shall ever be required of those seeking public office. While no one expects Senator Sanders to be a theologian, we should expect far more from an elected official who has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

Sen. James Lankford (I’ve met Senator Lankford) warned that Sanders’ comments come “dangerously close to crossing a clear constitutional line for how we evaluate qualifications for public service.”  He continued,

“The First Amendment is crystal clear that the federal government must protect every American’s right to the peaceful and free exercise of religion.  We cannot say we have the free exercise of religion and also require people to practice their faith only in a way that government officials prefer.”

Emma Green, writing for the secular publication, The Atlantic, defended Vought:

It’s one thing to take issue with bigotry. It’s another to try to exclude people from office based on their theological convictions. Sanders used the term “Islamophobia” to suggest that Vought fears Muslims for who they are. But in his writing (in his editorial for Wheaten College), Vought was contesting something different: He disagrees with what Muslims believe, and does not think their faith is satisfactory for salvation. Right or wrong, this is a conviction held by millions of Americans—and many Muslims might say the same thing about Christianity.

As you can imagine, Twitter blew up over this story.  NYT Best-Selling author, Eric Metaxas, tweeted,

“What [Sen. Sanders] did was in fact so bad, and so un-American, that we should be demanding his resignation.  It is a stunning moment in our history.”

And the conservative news site, The Federalist, disseminated all the jargon by tweeting simply, “Senator Sanders doesn’t think Christians are fit for public office.”

A friend of mine from HBU (he lives in the beautiful state of Vermont – the state Sanders represents) wrote a blog entitled, Senator Bernie Sanders and the Inverse Religious Test for Civil Service.  He writes, “Dear Senator Sanders,…

“…a worldview that affirms all other worldviews to be true is a contradiction in and of itself because it is evidently not true that all worldviews can be simultaneously true… The issue is that when you hold certain beliefs, you are espousing a particular worldview, and that worldview is inevitably at odds with other worldviews… You claim to embrace tolerance, but you are in fact being intolerant of Mr. Vought simply because of his freely chosen religious beliefs. That is hypocrisy.”

In the Washington Post, Jim Wallace wrote an editorial with the following subtitle: Democrats could stand to know more about religion.  Christians also need to express our beliefs without vitriol.  After reading Wallace’s article, I found it’s Wallace who needs to learn more about what Jesus said and did.  He would find this:  the gospel, by its very nature, is offensiveIt tells us we’re hopeless sinners in desperate need of a Savior.  And it tells us that those who die, having not professed their faith in Christ, will stand in judgment of hell You can’t proclaim the gospel of Jesus and count on everyone liking you – just ask Jesus.  They crucified him. 

Senator Sanders exposed his true motive during the hearing.  He has little interest in religious freedom – if you’re a Christian.  Additionally, he has no concept of the fundamental differences between world religions.  Finally, he is accusing Mr. Vought of making daily decisions based on his convictions when he is doing the very thing: deciding to attack Mr. Vought based on his own convictions. Religious or not, do we not all live our lives based on fundamental principles in which we strongly believe?

Let me be perfectly clear – if this story were turned around 180 degrees, and an evangelical Christian Senator had attacked the religious convictions of a political nominee representing a different religion, I would be writing the same opinion piece on behalf of the individual who was being marginalized and harassed.  If you don’t like someone’s religious faith or worldview – and they’re running for public office – don’t vote for them.  But, we must never personally attack them because of their faith or suggest they are less of a person solely because they don’t hold to the same convictions/worldview we do.

The moment we allow this to take place in government is the moment Religious Freedom will be a thing of the past.

I titled this blog “Freedom of Religion? Yes.  Freedom of Biblical Christianity?  Not so much.”  Here’s why:  (1) I use the term “biblical Christianity” because the term “Christian” is widely used and, as such, means different things to different people.  For instance, in this blog both, Dr. Hawkins and Senator Van Hollen Jr., refer to themselves as Christians while, apparently, holding to doctrines not taught in the Bible.  (2) While some might prefer to remove religious principles from any and all decisions made by those serving in public office, it is logically impossible to divorce someone’s decisions from what they believe – we’re not robots.  We all have convictions, beliefs and principles that drive our daily decisions and make us who we are.  Senator Sanders, here, defends Islamic faith, while attacking Christian faith.  If this is true (and I don’t see any other way to interpret it), then Senator Sanders – and those who defend his statements – represent those who, according to their words, believe in the freedom of religion – as long as it’s not the Christian faith.

In sum, if Senator Sanders were to read a Bible I suspect he would never have attacked Mr. Vought’s Christian faith. For, he would see in the gospels that, although Jesus clearly states he is the only way to God, he never imposed his convictions on a single person.  On the contrary, he preached the truth and left the decision to trust him solely up to the listener, even when his message resulted in many people choosing to no longer follow him.  Jesus never compromised the truth of his message (and this made him a lot of enemies), but he treated all people equally, with love and respect.

All the way to the Cross.

nick  (You can also access this editorial blog on my blog site “Soul Food” here.)

 

A NEUROSURGEON AND HIS PROBLEM WITH DARWINIAN EVOLUTION

Excerpt from the Forbes article:

“Darwinists detest intelligent design theory because it is compatible with belief in God.

But the evidence is unassailable. The most reasonable scientific explanation for functional biological complexity–the genetic code and the intricate nanotechnology inside living cells–is that they were designed by intelligent agency. There is no scientific evidence that unintelligent processes can create substantial new biological structures and function. There is no unintelligent process known to science that can generate codes and machines.

I still consider religious explanations for biology to be unscientific at best, dogma at worst. But I understand now that Darwinism itself is a religious creed that masquerades as science. Darwin’s theory of biological origins is atheism’s creation myth, and atheists defend their dogma with religious fervor.” (End of excerpt)

The author, Michael Egnor, is a professor and vice chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  Read the very brief article here.

 

OH, TO HAVE BEEN ON THIS FLIGHT  (Hakuna Matata!)

So, here’s what you get when you’re on the same flight as one of the traveling casts of Disney’s “Lion King”.  Enjoy…

 

SINGING WOMEN OF TEXAS EVENT – JUNE 23-24

Much help needed!  All pertinent informatioin was included in last week’s edition.  To view the information, click here.

 

Monday, June 19- we will begin clearing the FLC kitchen.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“Jesus Christ has broken the power of Satan;….and henceforth evil spirits, instead of having power over us, tremble and are [terrified] of every true Christian.” John Henry Newman, 1801-1890

“You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]!”  James 2:19 (Amplified)

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

As one friend wrote after I posted this on my Facebook page:  “I knew it!  Luckily, I’m safe.”

 

GRACE NOTES:  Hope on the Rock(s)

This past week I was looking through old files and made an alarming discovery: I stumbled upon the last devotional I had written (for this e-newsletter) prior to my son, Jordan, taking his life. The newsletter was dated 5/8/13. Jordan would die only five days later. What caused me to gasp and grip my chest was the topic of the devotional: hope in times of despair. Little did i know. I thought it was worth re-posting.  You can view it here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

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