Monday, March 20, 2017

True Humility is knowing One's Identity in Christ

Some time ago I called a pastor acquaintance of mine to ask for prayer. When he picked up the phone, the first thing he said to me was, “What can I do for you, man of God?”

For an instant, I was speechless. It had never occurred to me to think of myself in those terms. Had he picked up the phone and said, “What’s up, basket case?” or “How’s it going, screw-up?” I probably wouldn’t have batted an eye; in fact, I probably would have assumed the Holy Spirit had given him a word of knowledge. But “man of God” - I wasn't prepared for that.

The Christian faith places a great deal of emphasis on humility, and for most of my life I guess I thought humility was the art of running yourself down. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Humility is an attitude of reverent awareness that what you have, and what you can do, you have and can do by the grace of God. Humility keeps one thankful toward God and merciful toward one’s fellow human beings. The alternative is arrogance, which leads to contempt for both God and man.

At its core then, humility is simply an acknowledgment of the truth: the truth concerning oneself in relation to God.

For this reason, running yourself down isn’t just counterproductive; it’s actually a form of self-delusion. Further, I believe it’s an affront to God. The scriptures are clear that those who belong to Christ have received the favor of God (Romans 5:1-11), even the right to be called his own children (John 1:12-13). We are to receive an inheritance along with Christ (Romans 8:16-18). Indeed, Jesus said that it is the Father’s “good pleasure” to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). He doesn’t merely tolerate us, he delights in us (Ephesians 5:1). We are important to him, first because we are created in his image, and second because we are being conformed to the image of his son (Romans 8:29), who is ever pleasing to him. When we look down on ourselves we effectively deny these truths and thereby subtly imply that the sacrifice of Christ that was designed to bring these things about really hasn’t done so.

There is a place for conviction in our lives. The Holy Spirit brings this about in his own gentle way, but he never rubs our noses in our failures and inadequacies. Given that we are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1), it stands to reason that we should not do these things to ourselves, either. Yes, it’s easy to become discouraged at times—especially as we reflect on the power and holiness of God, and as we compare ourselves to various famous names in the history of the faith—but as Christians we are called to be “overcomers.” A person who runs himself down is not overcoming; he is being overcome. Victory will never come to one who chooses to crown himself with defeat.

So, yes, let’s pursue humility, but let it be genuine humility—a humility that comes by way of the truth and that leads us into thankfulness and mercy, and onward to victory. Acknowledge who you are in Christ and what God has said about you in those terms. Know that, if you belong to Christ, then you are indeed a man or woman of God, no matter what you may feel like at the moment or how far you have yet to travel on the road to maturity. It isn’t easy to change a habitual pattern of thinking, as those who are prone to anxiety and depression know only too well, but it’s the essential first step and it is possible with prayerful determination. The alternative is futility, self-delusion, and insulting the father who has so graciously made us the children of his favor.
“For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that...we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.” - Hebrews 6:16-18

*Scripture is taken from the NASB.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Singularity, Transhumanism, and the Future of Mankind

Scientists, researchers, and engineers are working hard to "enhance" human beings by probing the mysteries of our genetic makeup and exploring ways to integrate us with machines. According to at least one leading expert, the effort to merge humans with machines will bring about "singularity" (a fundamental turning point in human affairs) by 2029 - a mere 12 years away.

Meanwhile, fundamental questions need to be asked: What does it mean to be human? How much can we "enhance" or "augment" ourselves and still remain human? What will augmented human beings think of non-augments? Will enhancing human beings also enhance our capacity for evil? 

And, on another level, what, if anything, does the coming singularity have to do with Bible prophecy? Do the scriptures hint at transhumanism in the last days? What does the Mark of the Beast really entail? And why can't those who take the Mark be forgiven? These are all questions that Christians are going to have to face in the very near future. How will we engage with society on these issues? What decisions will we make for ourselves and our families?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Carl Sagan and the "Insignificant Planet" Earth

The late American astronomer, author, and television host Carl Sagan once referred to Earth as an "insignificant planet." In a way he was right; Earth certainly isn't very impressive compared to other objects in the universe. But in another, very important way, Sagan was wrong - Earth is extraordinarily significant.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Weaponizing the Masses: A Warning to the Left

Do you love the smell of a burning, inner-city neighborhood in the morning? Do you like seeing stores looted, vehicles damaged, innocent bystanders beaten bloody, and cops shot dead when a trial verdict doesn't go your way or a politician you don't like wins an election? Is someone saying something you don't like sufficient reason to terrorize them? Do you like staging violence to smear public figures?

If so, well, this video is for you. Or if you know someone who needs it, gift-wrap it and send it to them with my compliments

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Is Anyone Out There? The Search for Alien Life and the Question of God's Existence

Not long ago, NASA announced that liquid water had been detected on Mars. This was huge news at the time, as it seemed to bolster the hopes of those who would like to find life outside of Earth. The search for alien life presents us with a fundamental question: if scientists find life on Mars or elsewhere in the universe, will this prove that there is no God?

In my presentation, I examine this question (and a number of related questions) in detail and hope the information and perspective provided will prove helpful to those who are searching for answers on this important topic.

Do Virtual Particles prove the Universe created Itself from Nothing?

Some have suggested recently that 'virtual particles' come into existence out of nothing, thereby proving that the universe itself could have come into existence out of nothing (effectively creating itself).

Is this true? What are virtual particles? Do they really come into existence out of nothing? Do they prove that the universe could have created itself?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Did Jesus Really Say He Was "Coming Soon"?

"Jesus is coming soon!" is a common expression in the evangelical church; but given that it has been 2,000 years since He left, skeptics frequently throw this expression out and ask "What gives?" Even stand-up comics sometimes use this in their routines to make fun of Christians and the Bible.

So what's going on? Is the Bible wrong? Is the Second Coming of Christ just another empty religious prophecy? Or is there another answer?