THIS SUNDAY, 6/29
CHOIR: “Arms of God Medley” – Also, with this Sunday being the last Sunday prior to July 4th (can you believe that?? Where did June go??), you’re going to hear an outstanding solo by Hanna Segrist as she sings our National Anthem.
PREACHER: Jim Gerlt
NOTE: This Sunday, we will observe the Lord’s Supper
“WHEN YOU STOP LEARNING, YOU STOP LEADING.” (HELLO HBU)
The above statement was made years ago by pastor/author, Rick Warren. And I completely agree with him. That is why I am THRILLED that this past week I was accepted by Houston Baptist University’s Graduate School to pursue a Master of Arts in Apologetics.
I shared with Jerry Joplin well over a year ago how God was moving in my life. He met with Personnel and I was given permission to pursue further schooling. I had intended to begin last Fall, but Jordan died and everything in my life came to a screeching halt.
“But God….” (I love that phrase.) But God, in love and grace, has, over this past year, used the unspeakable pain of losing my son to suicide to (1) strengthen my faith, and (2) intensify my desire to help strengthen the faith of all believers.
So, I began searching for the #1 degree in Christian Apologetics in the nation. And I found it. In Los Angeles at Biolo University. Biola had the absolute BEST theologians & defenders of the faith. I couldn’t wait. Then, Scott Willingham preached for Jerry this past March. Scott, a great friend and the Director of Evangelism for the BGCT, said to me, “You should consider HBU.” I replied, “Why??” He said, “Because they’re investing heavily in their Apologetics program – and they’re hiring all the professors from BIOLA!” Within weeks I had changed directions (geographically) and finished my application to HBU.
My friends, I will be taught by Lee Strobel (author of “The Case for Christ”), Dr. Mike Licona (one of the professors Strobel interviewed in his book, “The Case for the Real Jesus”), and the man many consider to be the foremost Christian apologist on the planet, Dr. William Lane Craig. Following my completion of the Masters degree (which I am able to take completely online), I will have the opportunity to consider a Ph.D. in further theological training. We’ll see. 🙂
Interestingly, it was apologetics that saved me from “falling off the cliff” where my faith was concerned in those early days following Jordan’s death. In those early, quiet, lonely days – as much as I did NOT want to believe there was a loving God – I could not escape the very truths I had taught to both students & adults for decades: the order of the cosmos, the intelligent design of the human body, the reliability of the Scriptures, the historicity of Jesus, and the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. As much as my flesh wanted to abandon my faith, I found myself, like Simon Peter, confessing to Christ, “Lord, where else is there to go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
This particular discipline of study is HUGE where “millennials” are today (“millennials” fall into the age category of 20-something’s & even early 30’s). Apologetics, simplified, is “knowing why you believe what you believe.” For today’s 20-something’s (and a rapidly growing part of America), that’s huge. Millennials are not content with being told something is true just because grandma or a preacher said it’s true. They are thinkers. They tend to question everything (like me). But their questions are GREAT questions! They’re open to spiritual things – including the Gospel! They’re intrigued by Jesus. All they want is for someone to listen to their questions/objections and intelligently visit with them without getting defensive or ugly. Apologetics gives one the tools to do just that. It helps a believer take sound, biblical theology and communicate it to everyone from the seeker, to the skeptic, to the one hostile toward Christianity. In addition, it gives one the tools to help strengthen the faith of fellow Christians – which is exactly what God did for me as my faith lay beaten & crippled following my son’s death.
Dr. William Lane Craig (whom I mentioned before) rightly said, “By laying aside our best weapons of logic and evidence [for the Bible being true], we ensure modern secular culture’s triumph over us. If the church adopts this course of action, the consequences in the next generation will be catastrophic…. A robust natural theology [evidence for God in nature] may well be necessary for the gospel to be effectively heard in Western society today [today’s millennials]…. Properly understanding our culture is important because the gospel is never heard in isolation. It is always heard against the background of the current cultural [context]…. It is the broader task of Christian apologetics to help create and sustain a cultural [context] in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women.” The above argument by Craig is exactly why millennials are drawn to the logic of great Christian thinkers such as C.S. Lewis. (I will be taking an entire semester class on Lewis.)
I am scheduled to begin this Fall. 🙂
DOES SCIENCE AGREE WITH GENESIS?
Great article here by astrophysicist, Hugh Ross. How old is the earth, really? It all comes down to how one interprets the Hebrew word for “day” in Genesis 1. For those certain it was six twenty-four hour days, you need to understand that there is as much biblical support for the earth being billions of years old as there is for the earth being relatively “young”, around 10,000 years old. Bottom line – none of us were there so we just don’t know. The “age of the earth debate” is forever old. Furthermore it’s a “non-essential” where faith in Christ is concerned. Like the “end of the world,” “the beginning of the world” falls under the “no one knows for certain” category. I like what one of my favorite theologians, Dr. Wayne Grudem, said (Grudem leans toward 24-hour days in Gen. 1, but quickly admits that no one can know for certain): “With respect to the length of days in Genesis 1, the possibility must be left open that God has chosen not to give us enough information to come to a clear decision on this question.” Here’s the article about Hugh Ross and his opinion:
SUMMER REHEARSAL SCHEDULES
Choir: NO mid-week/Wed. rehearsals until late August. HOWEVER, we will meet each Sunday in the Choir Warm-Up Room at 8:45am to rehearse that morning’s song (a piece familiar to everyone), and take a few minutes to rehearse a song for the following week.
Praise Team: We will continue to rehearse on Wed. evenings unless notified otherwise.
GOT QUESTIONS? (Bible-Learning Resource)
FYI – Solid resource for all your Bible questions. At least the answers will get you started on the right path and offer solid food-for-thought. Get learning!
NO “MUSIC/GRACE NOTES” NEXT WEEK
The Watts family will be enjoying some time away. Dr. Chae will be leading in both Worship Services on Sunday, July 6th.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“If your Christianity depends (solely) upon a pastor’s preaching, then you’re a long way from being where you should be.” A.W. Tozer
“Bitter divisions among Christians give the world the justification they’re looking for to disbelieve the gospel.” Francis Schaeffer
“Even duct tape can’t fix stupid. But it can muffle the sound.” Anonymous
LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE: “Differences Between Men & Women”
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 she doesn’t need, but is on sale.
A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments, romances, favorite foods, best friends, secret fears, hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.
GRACE NOTES: “The Daily Grind of Faith”
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick