Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wise Men from the East

[I haven't posted on here for over a year, but what I have to share seems more important than a Facebook status.]

I was just reading in Isaiah (chapter 47) about the judgment that would come on Babylon because they trusted in their own strength and their magick instead of giving credit to the One True God. God had used them to judge Judah for their sin, but they would be punished for their own wickedness and pride. Today being the day before Christmas, I was reminded of the magi (Matthew 2:1-12). These were of the same people that God pronounced judgment on, but some of them recognized the birth of the Savior. Centuries before, Judah had been taken captive by Babylon for 70 years, and that was bad, but through that many Babylonians and later Persians came to know about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In Acts we read about the development of the Church in the first century, and whenever there was persecution, the Church spread and grew. Many of the persecutors came to be believers themselves because the first Christians were ready to give a defense for the hope that was in them with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). That is how God works--He must judge sin, but there are always some He has called from every tribe, people, and language.

We are still in the world, and the world is corrupt. We cannot change people, and even if we could it would not matter because nobody can earn salvation by their own works. Share what Christ has done for the world and trust the Holy Spirit to change individuals after they have accepted Jesus as Savior.

We mostly just hear the bad news through the media, but God is building His Church!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Creationism is not unscientific

Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." (ESV)

People reject creation, not because it cannot be supported scientifically, but because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Secularism (often called evolution) is this generation's idolatry.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alchemy by Mike Wood

I've been reading Alchemy by Mike Wood on my Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038M2HC6/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title ), and it's nothing like I was expecting it to be. The truth is, if I had known what it was about I probably would not have chosen to read it, but I think it was good for me to read. It is not a Sci-Fi book like I thought, but it is about relationships.

Al's father left when Al was young without any explanation, so the son imagined all kinds of possible reasons. It turns out the father was gay, & when Al ran into him accidentally one day he learned that his father was dying of AIDS.

There is something that draws certain people to a homosexual lifestyle, and without Christ it is impossible for them to overcome it. That doesn't mean it isn't sin, but everyone without Christ is a slave to sin. This is one sin that not everyone struggles with, but those who do often cannot get away from it, even if they try. Christ has to change them first.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A blessing that looks like an inconvenience

As many of my close friends know, I was hit by a pickup truck while riding my bicycle in 2005 & required immediate brain surgery. God performed a miracle & I survived, & I seem to be pretty much back to normal. The only remaining effects of that day are: I'm a little more hesitant when riding my bicycle (I got a new one about 5 years after the accident), I'm a bit more uncoordinated (not that I was that coordinated before), & the biggest one is short-term memory loss. I am able to still function normally as long as I write things down & record appointments on the calendar in my cell phone. Sometimes it's a little inconvenient when I have to retrace my steps until I remember what I went upstairs to do, but I've gotten used to it.

In many ways, this abnormal memory is a blessing in disguise. I may forget what I had for lunch that day, but I clearly remember something from 15 or 20 years ago. Forgetting things can be a blessing, too. You know that negative thing someone said that you just can't get out of your mind? That doesn't happen to me much, anymore. Also, I can read a comic book that I've read several times before & still be surprised!

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's funny what you realize when you look back...

I'm sure glad that God is in control & that he has a plan for me. To take that further, I'm glad he is directing my steps even when I have no idea where I'm going.

I've known Jesus as my personal Savior since I was a little boy. I vaguely remember when I was 14 committing to do God's will with my life, and that was a true commitment, but I had my own ideas of what that would probably mean. I went to New Tribes Bible Institute after I graduated from high school. I figured I had to go to some sort of college, because that's what you do after high school, and you can't go wrong learning the Bible. That much was true--the Bible education I got at NTBI was a great foundation. When I graduated I still didn't know what I was supposed to do, though, & I still hadn't found a wife, so I transferred to Appalachian Bible College to finish my Bachelor's degree. I wanted to be a missionary, because even though I understood that not all Christians are called to be missionaries, I thought the really good ones were. I wouldn't have said anything like that then, but I'm pretty sure that's what I thought--I wanted to be one of the elite. I think my goal in going to ABC really was to find a wife more than anything else, though. (I was growing as a Christian & not quite as shallow as that sounds, but life looks more black & white when you think about it in the past tense.)

By God's grace I did meet my wife, Angelina, at ABC. She could see who I was a lot better than I could, and she knew a lot more about real life than I did, too. In 2005 & 2006 I was able to take a better look at who I was (that's another story), and I realized that I need to use the personality and gifts that God has given me in a task I'm suited for, not the one I think all the "best Christians" do. I am not really a self-starter, & not very good at meeting people, & those qualities are important in the kind of work I thought I was supposed to do. As a Christian I need to share the Gospel, and I need to make an effort to meet people even if it doesn't come naturally. However, it was important for me to find a vocation I was suited for. I care about truth, and helping people learn it.

Now I am the Librarian at Appalachian Bible College, & I can't think of a better place for me to use what God has given me. The best advice I can give to you is trust God & see what happens! As long as you are living in obedience to God's word by the power of the Holy Spirit, wherever you are, that's God's plan for you right now!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Starlight & Time: Solving the puzzle of distant starlight in a young universe.

I believe in the absolute authority of the Bible because it is God's word. I also believe in true science using the scientific method ("the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses," http://www.merriam-webster. com/dictionary/scientific%20method). By this definition, not everything that is called science is really science. I do not claim that we can prove anything for certain about the origin of the universe by using science because we cannot observe it happening, and none of us were there when it happened. However, I believe that God inspired men to write down his word, and he was there!

The main point I am trying to make is that the biblical account of creation is true, and because it is true, what we discover today using the scientific method will not contradict it. The Bible says God created the universe in six days. With Adam being the first man, and he was created on the sixth day, the Earth has been figured to be about 6,000 years old; give or take a few thousand, but nowhere near the billions of years that many "scientists" claim. From what is discovered about the Earth today, I have no problem believing that the Earth is that young. When we consider the size of the Universe, however, and how far away the stars are, I had a hard time understanding this: if the stars were created on the fourth day, why are we able to see them? I still believed the Bible, but I couldn't explain this very well.

Starlight & Time: Solving the puzzle of distant starlight in a young universe by Dr. D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. really helped me to understand. I would definitely recommend reading this, because it made a lot of sense to me, but I can't promise it will make sense to you. Remember, this is a physicist who believes that the creation account in the Bible makes more sense than the evolution taught in public schools. The basic truth is that time is relative to gravity and distance. Dr. Humphreys quotes Stephen Hawking and explains Einstein's theory of relativity to make this point. For this reason, something that takes 6,000 years on our planet could be equivalent to billions of years in distant space! (p. 37)

(photo from www.amazon.com)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My testimony: 2001-2011

It's amazing to see how God has worked in the past 10 years since I graduated from New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI)! I remember at that time thinking I was doing pretty well, but the truth is I still had a lot of growing to do. The summer after I graduated I went on a short-term missions trip with Pioneers to Buryatia in Siberia, Russia, and I thought maybe I would be a full-time missionary there, but I needed to pursue further education first. After working as a cook at NTBI Jackson for a year, I went to Appalachian Bible College (ABC) in West Virginia, where I met my future wife, Angelina, and got my Bachelor's degree. Over those years the church in Buryatia had been growing—praise the Lord!—and maybe I wasn't as suited for that ministry as I thought I was...

While I was at ABC I went on a couple missions trips to Utah, and I saw that as a mostly unreached place dominated by the LDS, so my wife and I thought maybe that would be the place for us—but we had to pay off our school loans first. We settled in Columbus, Ohio to wait for the Lord to direct us to the next place. I got a job at Wal-mart nearby our apartment, so I rode a bicycle to work. Six weeks after Angie and I were married, I was hit by a Ford F-250 truck as I was riding my bike. I needed immediate brain surgery, but there were people praying for me all over the world, and after 3 weeks I was able to go home. I wasn't able to work at all for about 6 months after that, but God provided for us in many amazing ways, and I had a lot of time to think. Even though I didn't suffer much injury in the rest of my body, the head trauma did present me with some limitations I didn't have before, so I had to learn what I could do and serve God with that. I realized that much of what I had planned on doing was because I thought it was what I should do, and I didn't really think about whether it was what I was designed to do. Angie helped me a lot with that, and getting hit by a truck helped me get my head on straight, so to speak.

I was so focused on life in church groups and Bible Colleges that I really didn't know anything about real life—and there's a lot more to ministry than getting good grades. God used the "accident" to help me slow down and see what is going on in the world. I learned that I am an intellectual, information guy, and while Angie helps me to care about people more than I used to, I needed to use the skills God produced in me. It was time for me to become a librarian.

Looking back, I could see how God had been directing me towards this all along—I had worked in the library at ABC all 3 years I was there, never knowing what it was preparing me for. I worked for Legal Services for the state of Ohio, and during that time I developed some handy computer skills. I went to Clarion University of Pennsylvania to get my Master’s in Library Science, and I was kind of expecting to become a Young Adult Librarian at a public library somewhere. I worked in the public library while I was in graduate school, and I was amazed at the opportunities I had to share the gospel being a part of that community. Then God worked it out that it was time for ABC to look into getting a new librarian, and everything fit together. I am now the Associate Librarian at Appalachian Bible College, assisting students as they prepare to go into ministry all over the world! I never could have seen this coming—God is totally in control!