Thursday, March 28, 2013

Surrender

This is too good not to share.
Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7a GW)

Surrendering your life means:
- Following God’s lead without knowing where he’s sending you.
- Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come.
- Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide.
- Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.

You know you’re surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go and let God work. You don’t have to always be "in charge." Instead of trying harder, you trust more.

You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.

Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You are not self-serving, you don’t edge others out, and you don’t demand your rights.

The most difficult thing to surrender for many people is their money. Many have thought, "I want to live for God, but I also want to earn enough money to live comfortably and retire someday."

Retirement is not the goal of a surrendered life because it competes with God for the primary attention of our lives. Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and money," and "Wherever your treasure is, your heart will be also."

The supreme example of self-surrender is Jesus. The night before his crucifixion, Jesus surrendered himself to God’s plan. He prayed, "Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

Jesus didn’t pray, "God, if you’re able to take away this pain, please do so." He began by affirming that God can do anything! He prayed, "God, if it is in your best interest to remove this suffering, please do so. But if it fulfills your purpose, that’s what I want, too."

Genuine surrender says, “Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill your purpose and glory in my life or in another’s life, please don’t take it away!"

This level of maturity doesn’t come easily. In Jesus’ case, he agonized so much over God’s plan that he sweated drops of blood. Surrender is hard work. In our case, it requires intense warfare against our self-centered nature.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adding to the noise

What percentage of your day is noiseless?

Let me ask it another way: How much noiseless time to you allow in your day?

I am afraid that the constant noise of radio, music, TV, and talk radio is doing catastrophic damage to our souls. Add to that the constant stimulation of smart phones, apps, Internet, Facebook, email, Twitter and all the other stuff that stimulates our visual cortex and you have a recipe for soul disaster.

Our souls need quiet and solitude. 

When is there any quiet and solitude in your life?

You need to schedule it. Fight for it. Sacrifice things for it. Instead of adding to the noise, turn it off.

Your soul will thank you. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Bible Will Always Survive

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35 NIV)

The Bible is the most despised, derided, denied, disputed, dissected, and debated book in all of history. This Bible has been under attack for centuries — for everything you can imagine.

Yet the Bible is still the most read, most published, and most translated book in the world. And, most importantly, it’s still changing the lives of those who apply what it teaches.

One of the reasons I believe the Bible is God’s Word is that it has survived so many attacks throughout history.

Despite all the attacks throughout history, today the Bible is the greatest single source of culture. It’s the greatest single source for music, art, and architecture. If you take the Bible out of culture, you would destroy most of the major music, artwork, and architecture of the past 2,000 years. Even much of our English language comes from the King James Bible.

The Bible has flourished in spite of unrelenting attacks during the past 2,000 years.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (NIV). The only item on the planet that will last is the Word of God. Everything else will burn up, because truth is eternal.

Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, was a brilliant atheist. He wrote a number of tracts deriding the Bible. He once made a very bold statement: “One hundred years from today the Bible will be a forgotten book.”

Today, everyone has forgotten that quote — not the Bible! After Voltaire died, for nearly 100 years, his homestead was used as the book depository for the French Bible Society. They sold Bibles out of his house! It’s now a museum. People have forgotten Voltaire. Nobody forgets the Bible.

No matter what attacks come the Bible’s way, it always survives — and it always will. You can depend on that.

Some books on the Bible

I mentioned this past Sunday at Hub City that there are hundreds of books that contain evidence about the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible. I want to recommend a few.

The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict - by Josh McDowell. This is a fantastic resource that not only discusses the reliability of the Bible, but Jesus, the resurrection and much much more. You should get this book.

Is the Bible Really True - by Josh McDowell. This is in the form of a story. Not the best fiction writing in the history of humanity, but it does have some great evidence.

The Case for Christ - by Lee Strobel. This book is one of those "must read" books. It is all about Jesus, but there's a section on the reliability of the gospels. 

The Book that Made Your World - by Vishal Mangalwadi. This book is fascinating. It looks at how the world we live in has been shaped by the Bible. In terms of how it relates to the reliability of the Bible I'd say it has to do with, "the proof is in the pudding." I'll warn you. It is a long book and a bit difficult to read, but if you can plow through you won't regret it.

Jesus: A Theography - by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. The entire Bible is about Jesus. This book is a graduate level course on that truth. It is also hard to read at times, but is fascinating.

I could recommend more, but those will keep you busy for a while. My encouragement to those of us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus is that we do some work to figure out why we believe what we believe. As we do I believe that God will grow our faith and use us to introduce others to Jesus so that they have the opportunity to be his disciple.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Bible and science

“Praise him, you highest heaven and the water above the sky. Let them praise the name of the Lord because they were created by his command. He set them in their places forever and ever. He made it a law that no one can break.” (Psalm 148:4-6 GW)

Someone may have told you at one time that the Bible isn’t scientifically accurate. That person is wrong. They’ve either never studied the Bible or never studied science.

God sets up the laws of science; he made sure that his Word doesn’t contradict those laws.
Johannes Kepler, the famous mathematician and astronomer, once said, “Science is simply thinking God’s thoughts after him.” In other words, God established the laws of physics, and then we discover them.

The Bible wasn’t meant to be a scientific textbook. You don’t study the Bible to build a rocket. And the Bible doesn’t use scientific language. But the Bible never gives bad science! Not once during the 1,600 years in which the Bible was written does it give bad science. In fact, it’s always ahead of science.

For example:

- For thousands of years, people believed that Earth was flat. But God said 2,600 years ago in Isaiah 40:22 that God is enthroned above the sphere of Earth.

- For thousands of years, people believed something held Earth up. Hindus believed huge elephants did it. The Greeks believed Atlas did it. The Egyptians believed five columns held the earth up. The Bible never says that anything is holding the planet up.

- For thousands of years, people believed that the number of stars were finite. But Jeremiah 33:22 says the number of stars can’t be counted.

In 1861 a very famous book came out called “Fifty-one Incontrovertible Proofs that the Bible is Scientifically Inaccurate.” Today, you can’t find a single scientist on the planet that would agree with any one of those incontrovertible facts. They’ve all been disproved by science.

The Bible says, “Praise him, you highest heaven and the water above the sky. Let them praise the name of the Lord because they were created by his command. He set them in their places forever and ever. He made it a law that no one can break” (Psalm 146:4-6 GW).

The second law of thermodynamics doesn’t work today and not work tomorrow. It always works because it was true and made by God.

Truth doesn’t change.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What are the odds?

“No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction.” (2 Peter 1:21 GW)

The Bible is the most read book in history. It’s also the bestselling book in history and the most translated book in history.

Yet it’s more than that. It’s also God’s Word — God’s very breath. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (NIV).

That means the Bible isn’t just a good idea. It is God’s Word to us. One of the reasons I can know that the Bible is true and trustworthy is that it has thousands and thousands of prophecies that have come true and will come true in history. Every one of the Bible’s prophecies have either come true exactly as God predicted or will come true sometime in the future.

The Bible contains more than 300 prophecies about Jesus alone — all written a thousand years before he was born. The Bible prophesized about when he’d be born, where he’d be born, and how he’d be born. He couldn’t have manipulated his birth to fulfill those prophecies.

It also predicted how he would die. A thousand years before Jesus died, David described Jesus’ death on the cross in one of the psalms. He didn’t use the word “crucifixion” because no one knew that word then. Long before the Romans were even thinking about crucifying people, David described it.

Only God could have known that.

What are the odds that I could make 300 predictions about you and every one of them would come true? It’s so astronomical, you couldn’t write the number down. It takes more faith to believe that the Bible’s prophecies were a coincidence than to believe that God planned them.
The Bible says, “No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction” (2 Peter 1:21 GW).

During Bible times, nobody wanted to be a prophet. The law in Israel was that a prophet of God had to be correct 100 percent of the time. If you were wrong just once, then you were considered a false prophet and would have been put to death. A prophet better be right!

And the Bible prophecies were right — every one of them. You can trust the Bible because what the Bible predicts comes true.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Is the Bible Reliable?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Don't forget

I'd hate for all you Hub City Slickers to miss our first Sunday in the new theater.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Skeptics Welcome

We hear a lot from Christians about what they believe. It's as if "right belief" is the most important thing to them.

But what if "right belief" isn't the most important thing? What if there's something that's more important? 

We think there is.

Find out Sunday at Hub City Church. 

Skeptics, questioners, sinners, atheists, agnostics, and imperfect people welcome.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Don't let your past define you

Something I've said the past two weeks at Hub City has been this statement: Even though our past shapes us we don't have to let it define us.

The reason this is such an important truth for me is that I see so many people who live lives that are defined by their pasts. It doesn't have to be that way. God doesn't want your life to be that way.

Think about Peter. Here was a guy that was one of Jesus' best friends. He, along with James and John, spent the most time with Jesus. But on the night before Jesus was crucified Peter did the unthinkable. He denied he ever knew Jesus.

Now, if you were Jesus, and you were God, and you came back to life after the crucifixion, what would you say to Peter?

I'm pretty sure I'd want to have "the talk" with Peter. But Jesus does something different.

Even after Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus never mentioned what Peter had done. He never brought it up. 

That's some serious grace.

Now why didn't Jesus bring it up? I think it's because Jesus didn't want Peter's past to define his future.  

And he doesn't want your past to define your future either. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Three book recommendations for married couples

We finished up our series A Fairy Tale Ending today. Remember, God wants more for you than a fairy tale ending. He wants for you to experience oneness and intimacy with your spouse.

I have three great books that every married person needs to read. I'd recommend them for engaged couples as well.

May God bless you and your spouse with oneness and intimacy.