Why Does God Demand Faith?

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” -Matthew 7:9-11

This hit me today because lately I have been pondering what faith means (again). I’ve been listening to a lot of atheists debating Christians and it always seems that debate can go on for eternity. Both sides always have very intelligent people on either side yet no one seems to ever be able to convert the other side or actually really even make the other side stop and think at least. I really am beginning to think the whole thing (debating, not apologetics because those have other uses for the Christian) is a fool’s errand. Why? Because it seems the debaters are always missing the fact that both parties always start out with presuppositions. Also, it seems both sides are demanding proof for the other’s worldview, something I am really learning isn’t possible. Not because one or the other isn’t true, but because our origins are something in the distant past and therefore cannot be tested using the scientific method. I don’t know how an atheist grapples honestly with that other than finding that the little left-over evidences in the fossil record are enough proof for him of evolution (and therefore that all of nature and the universe has brought itself about.)

For the Christian, I wonder why God has designed our relationship with him to rely on faith? I get that God, being our Creator, and therefore Heavenly Father, wants a relationship with us, but why can’t He be as apparent to me as my wife, my parents or my brother? I have pondered this as far back as my college days and in that time my conclusion was largely about love being choice. It was something like this: If God showed Himself, we would no longer have a choice to believe in Him and therefore love would be impossible; we must see His revelation of Himself and then choose to love Him. But that still left me a little uneasy about the whole thing hinging on faith. 

Lately though, some things in life have illustrated clearly to me what faith means in a relationship. Namely, being married has shown me that, when my wife demonstrates trust in me – a deep and real trust – there are few things that make me feel as deeply loved. Its as if she is saying to me “Josh, I don’t need to double check what you said or try to find out what you told me again on my own and this is because I know and trust your character.” AH! It’s like a light goes off in my head. When you apply this to that relationship with the Heavenly Father, I can picture Him saying “Know Me and then Trust Me because of who you know me to be.” After all of this cogitating I then come upon a verse I have read dozens and dozens of times through life and finally it hits home. Why don’t we ever realize that our prayers, even as good sounding as “Please help baby Jonas recover from his stage IV cancer” may be the same as “God, please give me a Lamborghini”? When baby Jonas then passes away at 6 months we think “Why God?!” or “There can be no God or any good God if this happens”.

“But God, surely to ask for baby Jonas to live, that is good gift, right?” we ask Him.

“You know Me, right? I will give you what is good,” comes His answer.

And He just reiterates what He told us 2000 years ago: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

“But God, baby Jonas died. That is a stone, when I asked for bread.”

“Is it? If YOU would never give someone a snake when He asked for fish, and you believe I am your Heavenly Father, then don’t you think I have something better?”

We need to trust in Who we know God to be and in His character. We need to have faith that He has something far bigger, more appropriate, more fulfilling and good than baby Jonas’ physical, earthly healing. 

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Thoughts on The Eclipse

Offerings of the Eclipse

Today over the noon hour most of the USA stood outside staring skyward, hopefully with some approved glasses, to watch the first total solar eclipse in 38 years. Where I live, in western Colorado, it was only a partial eclipse but as 11am passed we could begin seeing a dimming of the sun that became, at its climax, comparable to the haziness cause by smoke from wild fires. Personally I was only mildly interested because we were only seeing a partial which is the same as any more frequently appearing partial eclipses I have seen in my lifetime.

Because I wasn’t real interested, I hadn’t heard some of the interesting facts that my co-worker, Ross, started sharing with me as we joined the rest of staff outside our place of work. First he pointed out the noticeable temperature difference which was about 10˚ to 15˚ cooler. He said a lot of animals will start to act erratically because it messes with their internal clocks which reminded me something I had heard about being quiet and listening. When I did, I noticed the din of crickets much louder than usual. I had also heard of people making pinhole viewers so I tried making a sort of pinhole with my index finger and thumb. Sure enough, I could see a little half-circle bump in my “pinhole” shadow on the ground.

This event also reminded me of an interesting documentary called The Privileged Planet in which philosopher Jay Richards and astro-biologist Guillermo Gonzalez talk (among a plethora of other observations) about the scientific data that is able to be gathered only at an eclipse. The documentary is mostly about the anthropic principle which, simply put, states that universe seems to have been designed for observation; the conditions that make our planet habitable are so finely tuned that any slight deviation in temperature, the earth’s axis, etc. would render our planet without life. There’s quite a bit more in that documentary and about the anthropic principle to discuss, but as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m not here to reiterate ideas already thoroughly discussed elsewhere, but to add my original thoughts and observations to these kinds of topics.

Taking Our Sun for Granted

What struck me most is that, when I paid attention to the rising noise of the crickets and the cool, dim air, I was flooded with a lucid and almost eery realization of the sun’s power over nature. I’m not sure if the same effect doesn’t happen when storm clouds blot out the sun (and if it doesn’t, why not?). It takes a special event like this because, though one can observe the sun’s return each and every morning, one needs a jolt of the unordinary to recall their latent gratitude. Suddenly it flashes through my mind: What if something we have always regarded as a constant in our universe were to come undone or “break” so to speak and caused this phenomenon of the sun to happen more frequently? (And in any other necessity provided to us in our symbiotic existence? I.E. Why shouldn’t the trees run their course and suddenly stop giving off oxygen?) Depending on how much the sun was blocked and for how long, it could have devastating effects to life on earth. Today’s events proved it can start having major effects relatively quickly.

To Whom Do I Owe My Gratitude?

I don’t claim that any of this is an absolute proof that their is a God, but the idea that life exists on a knife edge, that any slight change in these consistencies that make life possible, testify (as Romans 1:20 says) to a Creator. Even prominent militant atheist Richard Dawkins said, when asked if there was one argument given by a Christian or Creationist that caused him to pause he said “I think the closest is the idea that the fundamental constants of the universe are too good to be true…that does seem to me to need some kind of explanation if its true”. When I start to remember that no one/no thing owes me my next breath or my next heart beat, I start to wonder who designed this place where I get enough oxygen, where my atoms hold together, my synapses keep firing and where our planet faithfully rotates giving us night and day. The sun rains down ultraviolet-B radiation helping us create Vitamin D, raises our serotonin which can relieve anxiety and reduce depression, its light kills bad bacteria, has a beneficial effect on skin disorders and on and on. I choose to thank the Creator for this incredible biosystem He built us into.

 

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Psalm 19:1-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calm, Cool, Collected, He Stands Confident (refurbished blog from MySpace 9-17-06)

Every time I read about Jesus and really think about it (there are so many times when I just let the words of the Bible go in one ear and out the other) but when I really stop and think about this dude Jesus and how he was and what he did I’m left sitting there thinking-dang this guy is so freaking cool. You watch so many movies and when the hero confronts the bad guy you get this feeling like ‘ha-that bad guy is in for it, he’s messin’ with our hero’ because you know your hero is like the best martial artist, or he’s The One, or he’s really stinkin’ tough, or he a genius and the bad guy is gonna get whupped. But then Jesus, man he always surprises you because he’s so laid back but then he lays down a few words that drop like an H-Bomb. Like that one night when Jesus was cruisin’ in the boat with the disciples and they were going straight into a really bad storm over to an island where everybody thought the devil was lurking around. The disciples were panicking and FREAKED out and Jesus was back there takin’ a nap!! He was so chill, he was sleeping!! And so they woke him like “JESUS! WAKE UP! I THINK WE’RE GOING TO DIE!!” So Jesus sits up, rubs his eyes, yawns and says “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Then as if that wasn’t enough for one night, the disciples worst fears about that island came true when a possessed guy came toward them. He had all these chains on him that broke and he was all bloody from cutting himself and he was probably drooling and he was yelling all psycho-like. Things are getting all freaky and then the dude falls to his knees!! Any other person he could easily have ripped them apart with his bare hands! But Jesus….this is the Son of the Most High God and that legion of demons in this guy KNOW that!! That’s POWERFUL!! That gives me shivers down my spine!! Then Jesus cast them into a herd of pigs and the guy is seen by everyone dressed and in his right mind after that. Maybe you think this is a fable, a cool story in a book of myths. But I believe this to be a true account of actual events in the region of the Gerasenes about 2000 years ago. Just because it happened so long ago doesn’t mean it shouldn’t rock your world to hear that today. This guy Jesus is fricken’ awesome!!

Adam’s Soul Leads Us On

You have to muster up something to look over into the coffin where a dear old friend’s body lies. Yesterday after I shared a few highlights about my friend Adam Allen and I already cried in front of hundred or so people I’ve never met, then, then I could look. It was only the second time in my life I’ve seen a dead body (the first time was my grand-dad’s). The same feeling I remember after seeing my grand-dad filled me. It was this indescribable and indisputable knowledge that Adam was not there. The best way to convey the feeling is that it sharply contrasts the feeling of seeing a sleeping friend.

Right after the funeral I was busy catching up with friends I haven’t seen in 20 years, getting lunch and driving 3 hours back home. Finally though, just before bed, I started to process the day, the people, the service and lifeless wax sculpture I am told was Adam’s body. Why did that not feel like Adam? I wondered. Well, let’s think about this. None of what makes Adam, Adam, was in the building yesterday. All of us who shared memories, we brought more of a semblance of Adam to the room then did his body in the casket. And those snapshots, those were the things that made my eyes well up. Someone mentioned his sneezes that came like cracks of thunder and would make your skeleton jump out of your skin. Another mentioned his bone crushing hugs, or the way his shoulders bounced up and down when laughed so hard he couldn’t breath (as he often did).

You see, the more you knew Adam, the more you will understand that he wasn’t that room yesterday. A lot of times people muster up good things to say at a funeral: a very general “He was a loving father, brother, son, friend” or whatever. But Adam was someone that was easy to come up with good genuine memories and great things to share. I was thinking just a week or two ago, after seeing a funny Facebook post he made, how much I missed him and how he was truly one of the wisest, deep thinking, listening and loving friends I have ever had.

I want you know all of these things about Adam, because I believe God engineered that unique personality of his for a reason and the more people he influences (even posthumously) the better. I first met this chubby little friend because alphabetically his last name seated him next to me in 5th grade Home Room.

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Mrs. Birdsall’s Home Room, 5th grade. 1990/1991. Me in the Mickey Mouse shirt and Adam Allen on the right.

He was in several classes with me and it seems like it was in Mrs. Firestone’s music class where he shared with me his invention of an edible food glue. Right away I knew he wanted to be a chef someday. He loved my cartoon character, a little lizard named Duke and had me draw him all the time.

Im 8th grade Adam dressed as a chef (or maybe he was the Pillsbury Doughboy, I can’t remember)

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Halloween in 8th grade, 1993. 

Adam moved back to Utah after 8th grade but came back to Craig in high school. I shared at the funeral that I’m not sure how he and I became such great friends, because almost every one of his friends from high school and on were heavy into games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering and such and I am not into those at all. He as also part of the LDS Church which I was not. Maybe it was because I was a little bit into Sci-Fi and he enjoyed that too. I can’t remember what grade it was in when we watched the movie version of Fahrenheit 451 and after seeing the main character’s unique, forearm-grasping handshake, he and I greeted each as such for years afterward.

Our friendship became strongest when he joined my church youth group at Calvary Baptist Church. He grew up a Mormon and died one, but there was a section of his life when he was questioning all he believed (another personality trait of those with strong minds). He was quickly assimilated into our group of friends because he was such a caring and jolly person.

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Though we worked at Pizza Hut together I didn’t see him there much as he was a cook and I was a delivery driver. (1997?)

There were many adventures in the Calvary Baptist youth group and times when Adam, Nick Augustine and I hung out together. A couple of situations were so powerful, though, that they still come to mind often. One, which in way helped me discover part of my identity, was when Adam and I (and sometimes a few other friends) would meet up for coffee at the Craig Village Inn late at night. Our conversation would go into deep places as I hadn’t experienced with any one before. I realized then how much I like to think deeply about things (usually theological stuff). The other situation was right after Adam had to break up with his girlfriend Sara.

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Me, Adam and Sara in a photo booth in Centennial Mall. (1997?)

Adam needed to get it off his chest and so he pulled me aside in one of our church’s empty classrooms. He told me they had to break up and then, the tears started to flow. I think he was falling in love with her. I had never seen him cry. I put out my arms and he crashed his head into my shoulder with shudders. Not many guy friends (especially at that age) are that vulnerable and it told me that Adam trusted me probably more than anyone at that time. That vulnerability also showed when he told friends he sincerely loved them.

Adam’s desire to be a chef earned him the nickname Chef Curly and led him to pursue Culinary Arts in college at Mesa State in Grand Junction. I had already been there a a while getting my degree in Graphic Design and I was involved in a campus ministry called Master Plan Ministries. It was another large group of close friends that found it easy to accept Adam in.

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I think this was the fall of 2000 retreat at Cascade Lodge with Master Plan Ministries. 

 

Brian Tom and Adam play chess
Of course deep thinkers like chess. Bryan Kinser and Tom enjoying chess with Adam. 

I can’t remember where he went after Mesa State, but at some point he earned another degree at the Community College in Craig.

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Adam getting another degree in 2005. (My mom, right behind him, got her Accounting degree that year)

Years and distance separate all of these good friends like leaves in a river. You can’t keep up with every one you’ve ever known and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You have those who are in your life now to turn your attention to. Sometime you’re lucky enough to both be in Craig again at the same time and this happened one last time for us about 4 or 5 years ago over Christmas. We met up for coffee at the Starbucks in Craig’s Safeway. We were both in our mid 30’s and still unmarried and we were commiserating about it. He listened to me go on and on about how I had chances with all of these hot girls and how I was disappointed over and over again with their character. He said “Josh, we have to learn to love those who are good for us.” He was dropping wise words on me all the time like this. But that one really stuck with me, especially over the next few years when I was in for more of the same. His words echoed in my mind until finally I began to change the priorities in my mate-search criteria. I truly believe it was his words that helped me find my wife. Thanks, old friend.

Unfortunately in the years since I last saw him, our friendship was nothing more than “Liking” a silly post he made on Facebook here and there. To his credit, he never missed a Christmas, Easter, Halloween or Thanksgiving to shoot a text wishing a happy one.

In the last couple of years Facebook has been full of political and ideological vitriol. I have kept following several friends with sharply oppositional views because 1) They’re old friends and 2) I believe its healthy. Through this I have a clear window into a world of people who do not believe in God and therefore buck at any morality that comes from specifically a Christian world view. Sometimes it seems this Godless world has completely lost its mind. Several weeks ago I was thinking to myself, you know who would have a level head about these things? Adam Allen. And I thought it would be really fun to meet up at a Village Inn and hear his thought on this issue. When you miss a friend, it really stings to know you won’t, you can’t see them again. I saw a post from a co-worker at Pizza Hut saying that he had passed away and my first reaction was Wait what? Nooooooooooo!

I know this was long….and more of time line than a picture of who he was. I want to give a picture, but its made up in so many millions of nuances, how do I? Like how he always said “Cool beans”, or he called me and my brother “Squashy Mess” (our names are Josh & Wes). Those nuances, those were the things missing from the room yesterday.

As I thought about all this last night, that was when I think God showed me the importance of our souls, the deep down part that is really us, our spirit. It’s why the Naturalist, the Atheist, the Evolutionary  argument doesn’t work for me. If Adam was simply one of billions of highly evolved organisms, a meat computer who’s hard drive has finally failed…then where did Adam go? Sure, the body he occupied for 37 years was laying there right before my eyes, simply not functioning anymore. But where’s Chef Curly saying “Cool Beans” and talking about a food glue he invented?

 

Human Life’s Averment

March 11, 2016

I saw something today that was difficult to comprehend. Though it was something very common in our day and age, something I have heard about as far back as I can remember, it was hard to believe. I saw on a TV monitor, grey, white and black splotches that etched out the shape of a complicated little object. I am told this a computer image of what is inside my wife’s uterus but I cannot seem to make this connect to the same reality of my wife’s tangible fingers interlaced in mine and the technician at the computer across from us.

Finally I’m able to move passed the feeling that this is just the same ultrasound picture that I’ve seen in movies and TV shows and realize this is not a stock photo or a YouTube clip; this is a real-time image. Those grey and white blobs define the unmistakable arch of a skull complete with teeth, the dashed line of a spine, the pulsating spaces of a heart, the stripes of ribs and various white sticks that are arm and leg bones. What I’m watching is the actual movements of a tiny human baby and not just any of the millions around the world this same day, but this one….this one is my son.

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Thumbs up, mom & dad!

If I recall correctly, it was about 2002 and I was 23 the first time I felt like I was really ready to be a father. I didn’t even have a girlfriend at the time, but a friend had just given birth to her baby boy and was bringing him around the house I lived in at the time. I’ll never understand God’s timing, but here it is nearly 13 years later and finally it’s really my turn to be a father. I feel like every year gone by has made this a little harder to believe, but it doesn’t dull the enormity of it all.

The usual thoughts of expectant parents start pouring in like: Will he have my nose? Does he have Shelly’s lips? Is he going to have those big blue eyes like his mother? Is he going to have a great sense of humor? What kind of man will he grow up to be? Like all parents I hope he’ll grow up to be great, to be honorable and wise. I think about all of these traits and where they’re coming from. I look at the perfect curvature of his little scull. How is he so perfectly human? Shelly and I only “knew each other” to put it in Biblical terms, but other than that, what did we do? Nothing. We didn’t have to concentrate really hard. We didn’t have to carefully sculpt him with our hands. We didn’t have to be careful to remember what all goes into a human to make sure he is being built right. So where did this new little person come from? If not our hands, whose are guiding his shapes and numbering his ribs and vertebrae? So much of who and what we are is laid out like a computer program in our DNA. So this organic code is driving the formation of our boy, but now more than ever I am hung up on where on earth did this blue print come from? It passed from Shelly and I, and ours came from our parents which got theirs from our grandparents and so on. But how long does that go back? How long has the code been building humans as we know them?

I watch that screen in perpetual amazement; I really think I could sit there all day watching. What is most fascinating is when he decides to move. This creature inside of my wife is making an autonomous movement and it just hits me that he is a complete entity of his own. Yes he is tied to his mother by an umbilical cord and at this point could not survive outside the womb, but that does nothing to mute the loud averment of this distinctly human gestalt displayed before us.

Later that same day I am scrolling through Facebook posts and I come across a post that would normally get my hackles up, but today it hits me more somber. Its a liberal friend’s post about how evangelicals are fickle because they have only defined life at conception since sometime in the 70’s. I’ve read many posts like it and the bottom line is that the author is trying to find some loophole or some new angle in which they can debunk the Pro-Life movement. It is just so sad to me that my friend, like the writers of these articles, is so desperate to find some argument or point of view that proves people don’t really have souls so their conscious can be clear if they or a friend should choose an abortion.

I could drown in the quick-sand of addressing each of these articles and blogs, but I’ll save us all the pitiful sight of more of these online shouting matches. You may think I am choosing to remain ignorant by not hearing out each of the Pro-Choice arguments, but I think I can safely say I don’t need to hear anymore. Why? Because I know what I saw today. I observed, with my own two eyes, my own son-with a skull like mine, two eyes, a nose and little fists and I saw him get uncomfortable-the same way I do in bed at night-and roll over. From this point you can level every argument known to man against the Pro-Life viewpoint and it simply wouldn’t make sense to me. Recently NARAL was upset when a Doritos commercial humorously depicted a baby shooting out of the womb to grab a chip. They tweeted “ – that Doritos ad using tactic of humanizing fetuses…”. “Humanizing fetuses”? Besides the silliness of the baby reacting to the Dorito outside the womb, in what way did the creators of the commercial humanize the fetus? Maybe the people at NARAL have never seen what I saw today, because the fetus in an ultrasound is plenty human on its own without any manipulation or editing. Trying to tell me what I saw today isn’t human is the same as telling me a puppy isn’t a dog, or a sapling is not a tree: it just isn’t rational.

As the days go by I only get to watch my wife’s belly grow, but she gets to feel the little guy squirm, kick and roll around. His movements are a daily reminder that he is alive and well and Shelly’s growing womb is an undeniable sign of the eventuality that our son will have completed his stage of dependency on the confines of mom’s body. We will soon hold in our hands a crying, breathing, human baby ready for the outer world.

How's this for humanizing an ultrasound? Baby Anderson 3-7-16
How’s this for humanizing an ultrasound? Baby Anderson 3-7-16

 

Dark Apartment (from September 24, 2004)

9-24-04 Last night something really freaky went on. The only thing that makes it seem all normal or OK is that I’m pretty sure it was all a dream. I think I had been dreaming of being somewhere and I think I was with my brother. The scary part started when I thought I woke up. My eyes were barely opened and for some odd reason I didn’t recognize the room. There was a slight panic as I tried to remember where I was. Even as I started to remember I was here in my apartment it still seemed a little different or unfamiliar. Then I started to hear something like what I thought was a “ruckus” downstairs. There seemed to be a lot of commotion down there and I thought the lady below me was going to come up here or something. I heard talking (or yelling?) I think that’s when I heard a cookie sheet pop in my kitchen. The commotion may have been the neighbors on the other side plying music or video games but it sort of blurred into a constant roaring (This could have been a train going by because I live close to the train tracks) But my mind began to reel as I tried to figure out what was going on. Then I heard what sounded like someone brushing across blinds in the living room (but not mine, more like those vertical hanging type) back & forth. This rumbling sound continued and about the same time I heard this weird strained breathing with a bit of “voice” in it…sort of like a goblin – I swore I saw one, two…maybe three shadows pass my bedroom door way. I was panicking and frozen in fear. Then I thought I saw the arm of another figure walking by but then I realized I was looking at my dining room table. At the height of all the creepiness, as I lay there feeling paralyzed in fear I called out “In Jesus Name, leave me alone!” That is when it all stopped immediately. This one fact is what also led me to believe there was something spiritual actually happening and not just my half-asleep mind warping some outside noises and maybe some sleep paralysis.At that moment I managed to lift my head and completely open my eyes. I laid back down and thought about all this stuff and the fear made me start crying. Tears poured out of my eyes because it was so real. Just now writing about it I got chills and my eyes teared up (5:30AM)

Ruminations and Revelations About the Miracle Man 3-31-14

On a dark and cold January night I was sitting in my room in my neck brace a month or so after I broke my neck and had surgery. The phone rang, it was mom. Trying to hide emotion, she stated as matter-of-factly as she could, “I got my tests back….it’s cancer again.” It’s moments like that when the world stops and you can’t figure what to say to even finish the conversation. When I did say bye, there was some kind of built up emotion in me…it needed to come out somehow.  My roommate was in the living room and so I grabbed my big coat and took off down the frosty street. I needed to be alone to let the tears fall. Not again, why God? WHY? Why her? HASN’T SHE HAD ENOUGH? This was mom’s 4th or 5th time (it depends on whether you count benign tumors and stuff) facing cancer. How much longer can her body keep up fighting this stuff?

When Jesus heard that his cousin John had been beheaded he took off for a lonely place. This is one of my favorite things about Jesus. He was a real person and He faced many sorrows in His short life on earth. He just wanted to get away and process what He just found out. He would have to put all that on hold for a bit, though, because one of His miracles that would echo through eternity was about to happen.

It’s crazy how easily and quickly I forget how powerful the scripture is. Man, though, when I read this today it just sent shivers down my spine.

All the sudden tons of people showed up..thousands! He could have gone and hid, He had some serious grieving to do, but He had compassion on the people. People needed food and instead of sending people to get some, this was an opportune time for Jesus to display His power. I love how so far in the book of Matthew its like Jesus’ identity is emerging, it’s building. And now He takes the few fish and pieces of bread they had on hand and blesses it and not only does He feed thousands and thousands of people, there are baskets of left overs!

When all that was done, the disciples took off in a boat and now Jesus finally had time to go and grieve and pray. I think He prayed through most of the night & then decided to go meet up with the disciples just before dawn.  Instead of finding another boat or whatever, He just decides to walk out to them! When they see Him they’re freaked out because He looks like ghost. I love when Jesus is teaching us stuff because it’s almost always counter-intuitive or unexpected. We’re always freaking out and He’s always saying “Shhh….don’t be afraid, watch.”

Peter, for a quick moment actually has faith and then wants Jesus to let him try some water walking too. Just like I would imagine any of us doing, when he gets out of the boat normal life and logic say “You sink when you get in water” and so he does. So Peter goes under the water and Jesus helps him out saying “You of little faith!”

At that moment I’m there in the dark night on this boat with all these guys and we’ve just seen this guy, who’s already been doing and saying so many amazing things, we’ve just seen him WALK ON WATER!

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying,

“Truly you are the Son of God.”

Amazing when that happens in the heart of a human being. It is the crux of humanity and existence on this planet.

Luke 15:10 says “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

 

 

 

Listen to Titan Dream by Two Steps from Hell

To Know You

“..to know you is hard…” ~Band of Horses, The Funeral.

To know you is actually one of the highest points of exhilaration in my life. Yes, you…I mean, if I do know you (& you didn’t stumble randomly across my blog on the internet). I have noticed that, in my life, I have met many people I was turned off by when I first met them, but then when I got to know them better I found something in them I didn’t see initially and then they started to grow on me.

To know you is hard, because you’ll likely disappoint me or make me mad, especially the more I know you. To know you is hard because the more I know you the more I need you in my life and you might move away (like so many of my friends have). Like I wrote once a long time ago- “when people leave my life I am sad for a time and then learn to live without them, but I have found they are never replaced and always welcome back”.

I think knowing people is of the highest order in the Maker’s grand design (just below knowing Him). And I want to know you more, though my own selfishness gets in the way. One of my favorite things in life is when, all of the sudden, it comes to me –  a recognition of something in you that is unique to you. Suddenly I look forward to seeing you again so you’ll do that “thing” again or whatever.

I was reading a Sherlock Holmes book recently and as Holmes surveyed the scene of the crime, he exercised his infamous ability to observe even the tiniest detail and store it in his mental filing cabinet. He would keep all of these fragments of information about the victim and try to paint a picture of the possible suspect. While the police would gloss over the ashes of a cigar on the coffee table, Holmes was using them to build an image of the perpetrator: these were special cigars from India and so the murderer would likely be someone who was in India recently.

As Holmes carefully observed every square inch of the murder scene, I wondered what he might find at my house. What kind of person would I come across as to the great detective? What if I was a suspect in the crime? What kinds of artifacts generated by my daily living would excuse me as a suspect? There would be letters from a friend in prison, from my cousin, books in my book case, drawings and paintings everywhere that might help put together a picture of who I am. Of course there’s my laptop with thousands of pictures and writings that would probably be the most telling of it all.

I started to realize I really liked the idea of someone wanting to know me that bad (especially a possible future wife). I also realized my desire to be known outweighs my desire to know others. This is probably a sign of my selfishness. Most importantly though, I think seeing this in myself helps me realize that you probably would love to be known like that too.  And where do we get this intense desire to be known?

As with all things that are pure and good, I believe this to be from God. I believe it is part of what is meant in Genesis when it says we are made in His image. I believe God wants more than anything, to be known and He reveals parts of who He is in millions of different ways scattered all over our universe. We, like Sherlock Holmes, are obliged to see, record, remember, observe, hear, feel; to know.

Reveal Yourself (refurbished blog from MySpace 7-17-08)

In the debate over whether the universe was created or made itself through naturalistic processes, the opponents are constantly looking for evidence to support their argument.

On the side of the naturalist or atheist, the thought goes, that if the universe sprang up from combinations of the right gases being struck by lightning (never mind where the gas and energy came from), it would follow that those amino acids would over time begin to evolve into more complex states (never mind entropy). It seems crazy, but the fact that it is here proves it.

The fact that the atheist or naturalist cannot attribute it all to divine creation, isn’t completely crazy or stupid. They demand proof of God which I have found myself wanting as well. Then I look all around me – everything is evidence.

The hard thing about just believing its God is because we are so immersed in it. It’s like standing with your nose up against a Rembrandt and trying to understand you’re seeing a painting. The painting is right there in front of you displaying all of it’s truth to your naked eye. The truth is so big and so….there….so all encompassing that we can’t even see it.

Many people arguing the side of Intelligent Design have used the phrase “The Designer’s finger prints are on everything,”. Think about that for a moment, what does that really mean? There’s the obvious, like if you see a watch with all its gears and sprockets, you have no problem attributing that to Timex, or whomever constructed it – and thus, you see a Robin pecking in the grass, attribute its construction to God. But another way to view the fingerprint is try and see the gestalt of all of Creation. It is then very nearly like a sudden realization of a specter standing in the room with you (only not as creepy) You can almost see the flow of power coming from God and sustaining all life on earth. Suddenly we have just about  caught up to the tip of the pen that our Lord is writing this story with.

I keep saying “very nearly”, “almost” and “just about” though. This brings back a vision I think the Lord painted for me when I was a freshman in college. I was taking Biology 101, being inundated  with Darwinian Evolution each class period to the point where I really questioned my stance as a Creationist. (I think I have written about this period of my life before) The evidences where not what convinced me as there seemed to be really none…in fact instances such as the horseshoe crab that “has remained surprisingly unchanged over millions of years” was actually evidence of the contrary. What really hammered me was thinking “What if my Christianity really was just a ‘feel good myth’?” – ”Why has God never sat down face to face with me and told me He is real and He loves me?” And the vision God gave me was me searching through a dark cave. Every once in a while I would see  a footprint of His and even times I would get close enough to see His glow around the next bend. What God explained to me was that I will never catch up to Him in that cave. I will not in this life see Him face to face. For to see Him, touch His nail pierced hand, would for me, take away my choice to believe in Him.

In nature, we see His “glow around the corner” or finger print. But we won’t (except in very special circumstances like the Transfiguration, or Mt. Sinai) ever see Him face to face. It’s crazy though, when you really look at Creation how so very close He came to letting us see Him.

Currently listening : Mortal By Mortal

Designed to Discover the Devine (refurbished blog from MySpace 5-24-08)

Hi, I’m Josh Anderson, a Graphic  Designer and I’ve  never designed anything.

One time I was drawing an alien (which I do a lot) I love the challenge of trying to come up with a strange character that no one has ever seen or contemplated before. This girl looked at my drawing and said “Did you know that humans cannot create something that God hasn’t already made? Anything we ‘make up’ is only a combination or reorganization of things already created.’

My first reaction was ‘No way, my creature is way different than anything we know’. She then pointed out that he has legs, a head, eyes, etc. I finally had to say, ‘You’re right’.

This thought has interesting implications when applied to imagination. One will say ‘He or she is very creative’, meaning we think they have a talent for coming up with new ideas. But what does it really mean to be creative if we cannot really create?

I think in light of this thought, we have to think of imagination and creativity more like exploring realms of existence already created by God. So then a creative person is more like someone who is open to exploring new/unusual/different thoughts or ideas.

It’s fascinating to me to find new and different or even strange expressions in art, music, philosophy because I think of it as discovering  unexplored frontiers of God’s creation.

This by no means places less significance on the types of people we don’t generally consider to be “creative”. I believe each one of us was created to explore creation in different ways based on our talents and interests. More logically minded people who have strengths in mathematics and sciences have discovered truths about our existence that “creative” or “artistic” types have a difficult time understanding.

It is awesome how collective humanity seems to have been designed to discover God in our vast array of experience, interests and talents, and then glorify Him by bringing these discoveries to light.